The Senate finally passed legislation Thursday that will renew $255 million in federal funding for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) that lapsed at the end of September.
The FUTURE Act passed overwhelmingly in the House prior to the Sept. 30 funding deadline but was stopped in the Senate as officials debated the best way to move forward with funding.
“I’m thrilled the Senate was able to find a compromise and pass our bill to support HBCUs in Virginia and across the country," Virginia Senator Tim Kaine said in a statement. "This funding demonstrates that we’re committed to the students who are doing fantastic work at schools like VUU, VSU, Hampton, Norfolk State, and Virginia University of Lynchburg. By keeping our promise to America’s HBCUs, we can help ensure these institutions remain strong for generations to come."
Sen. Kaine was joined by multiple HBCU leaders in applauding the passage of the funding bill at a time where many of the institutions are in financial straits.
"VUU is one of the top ten producers of African Americans who eventually receive a Ph.D. in the biological sciences. That is only possible with the kind of intentional federal support that the FUTURE Act offers," Virginia Union University President Dr. Hakim Lucas said in a statement. "More efforts like this should be done so that HBCUs can continue to make the same kind of impact that VUU is making on the Commonwealth of Virginia and the rest of our nation.”
Last month, Kaine sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office, pleading for a vote on the legislation. The Virginia senator's letter was cosigned by many other democratic senators, including Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar, who are all currently in the 2020 presidential race.