Secretaries of Education Call on Governors to Equitably Fund Land

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack today sent letters to 16 governors emphasizing the over $12 billion disparity in funding between land-grant Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their non-HBCU land-grant peers in their states. The 16 governors receiving the letter are: Alabama – Gov. Kay Ivey Arkansas – Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders Florida – Gov. Ron DeSantis Georgia – Gov. Brian Kemp Kentucky – Gov. Andy Beshear Louisiana – Gov. John Bel Edwards Maryland – Gov. Wes Moore Mississippi – Gov. Tate Reeves Missouri – Gov. Michael Parson North Carolina – Gov. Roy Cooper Oklahoma – Gov. J. Kevin Stitt South Carolina – Gov. Henry McMaster Tennessee – Gov. Bill Lee Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott Virginia – Gov. Glenn Youngkin West Virginia – Gov. James C. Justice, II There are HBCU land-grant institutions in 18 states; however, Delaware and Ohio have equitably funded their respective universities.


“Unacceptable funding inequities have forced many of our nation’s distinguished Historically Black Colleges and Universities to operate with inadequate resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development to student support services,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.


“I am continually inspired by all that HBCUs have achieved despite having to punch above their weight. Our HBCUs graduate a huge share of our nation’s Black educators, doc – tors, engineers, judges, and lawyers. These institutions and the tal – ented, diverse students they serve must have equitable funding in order to reach their full potential and continue driving innovation. The Biden-Harris Adminis – tration is proud to have made record investments in our HBCUs, but to compete in the 21st century we need state leaders to step up and live up to their legally required obligations to our historically Black land-grant institutions.”


“Some of the brightest minds and most impactful advancements in food and agriculture have taken root in our country’s 1890 landgrant universities, and I’m incredibly proud of the partnership USDA maintains with these invaluable institutions. We need governors to help us invest in their states’ HBCU’s at the equitable level their students deserve, and reflective of all they contribute to our society and economy,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The documented discrepancies are a clarion call for governors to act without delay to provide significant support for the 1890 landgrant institutions in their respective states.


Failing to do so will have severe and lasting consequences to the agriculture and food industry at a time when it must remain resilient and competitive.” Under the Second Morrill Act of 1890, states choosing to open a second land-grant university to serve Black students were required to provide an equitable distribution of state funds between their 1862 and 1890 landgrant institutions. 1862 land-grant universities were founded through the First Morrill Act of 1862 which provided states with federal land that could be sold to support the colleges.

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