REPORT: Trump to lift ban on federal funding for faith-based Historically Black Colleges and Universities
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President Trump announced he would lift a ban on federal funding for faith-based Historically Black Colleges and Universities, saying the Department of Justice has found that restriction unconstitutional.
“Today, I’m thrilled to announce another major action we’re taking to protect HBCUs,” Trump said Tuesday at the National Historically Black College and Universities Week in Washington, D.C. “Previously, federal law restricted more than 40 faith-based HBCUs and seminaries from fully accessing federal support for capital improvement projects. This meant that your faith-based institutions, which have made such extraordinary contributions to America, were unfairly punished for their religious beliefs. Did we know that? Did everybody know that? Because it was — it was hap- — that was not good.”
The article goes on to state the following:
“This week, our Department of Justice has published an opinion declaring such discriminatory restrictions as unconstitutional. It was a big step. And from now on, faith-based HBCUs will enjoy equal access to federal support,” said Trump.
The Department of Justice recently determined a restriction on the Department of Education’s “authority to guarantee loans for capital improvements at historically black colleges and universities ‘in which a substantial portion of its functions is subsumed in a religious mission’ violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.”
The president’s full remarks may be read here. To follow is a partial transcript:
My administration is deeply devoted to advancing this amazing legacy of success, commitment, and contribution to our nation. You have never stopped working to improve this country, and you deserve a government — you have to just keep going. You really do deserve a government that never stops working for you. And you never stop working for it. You’re amazing people in this room. Incredible people. And I congratulate you for it. (Applause.)
That is why, in my first weeks in office, I took action to make HBCUs a top priority once again. I signed an executive order to move the federal HBCU initiative to the White House, right where it belongs. (Applause.)
Over the past two and a half years, we have listened and learned from you, and we have taken very, very major action. I think you know that. I signed legislation to increase federal funding for HBCUs by a record 13 percent. That was the highest ever done. (Applause.)
When members of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund asked us to lift the ban on Pell Grants for summer classes, I included that change in my budget, and we worked with Congress and we got it done. (Applause.) And, you know, we had a little opposition to getting that done, I must tell you. But we got it done.
In the fall of 2017, we met with leaders of HBCUs devastated by Hurricane Katrina: Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans, Tougaloo College, Xavier University of Louisiana.
And less than a year later, my administration took action to fully forgive their disaster loans, so these colleges could get out of debt and back to their critical mission of educating our nation’s future leaders — and truly great leaders they will be. So, congratulations. (Applause.)
Last year, my administration also worked with UNCF and key members of Congress to provide capital finance loan deferment to 13 HBCUs that presented rigorous plans for growth. In total, over the last two and a half years, through the Capital Financing Program, we have provided more than $500 million in loans to HBCUs. (Applause.) At a very good interest rate, I might add. (Laughter.)
Right here in our nation’s capital, we delivered an additional grant of $15 million to the only federally chartered HBCU — a great school, with a great reputation, that was already mentioned once today: Howard University. It really is; it’s a great school. (Applause.)
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