WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded Senate passage of the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act, bipartisan legislation to extend Title III mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Servicing Intuitions (MSIs), and Tribal Colleges and Universities. Mandatory funding for these institutions lapsed on September 30, and is a critical funding stream for colleges and universities like Central State University and Wilberforce University. The House passed the FUTURE Act in September and Brown pushed for passage on the senate floor multiple times, as Republicans repeatedly rejected efforts to extend the funding.
This week, a bipartisan group of senators came to an agreement to amend the FUTURE Act and advance the legislation. The amended FUTURE Act would restore and permanently extend the $255 million in annual funding for MSIs and HBCUs. The permanent extension is paid for by including the FAFSA Act, a bill that passed the Senate unanimously last Congress. The FAFSA Act would simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and would eliminate unnecessary paperwork for the 7.7 million federal student loan borrowers currently on income-driven repayment plans by automating income recertification. The House must now act to advance the amended FUTURE Act.
“Historically Black Colleges and Universities, like Wilberforce and Central State in Ohio, fostered generations of black leaders and are a critical part of our nation’s higher education system,” said Brown. “I urge my colleagues to stand with our HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions, so we can secure the future of these institutions for our students and communities.”
In November, Brown joined his is colleagues in calling for Senate passage of the FUTURE Act. Republicans once again blocked this effort to pass the legislation and counter offered with a piecemeal approach to revising the Higher Education Act that had no path forward, which Brown rejected.
Prior to the September 30 deadline, Brown initially called for Senate passage of the FUTURE Act. Brown also joined Senate Democrats in urging Senate Leadership to call a vote on the legislation earlier this month.
While this is an important step forwarding and securing high education opportunities, Congress must continue to work on a comprehensive reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.