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As part of his initial $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation proposal, Biden included $45 billion in new funding for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and other higher education institutions that serve minorities.
The latest news reports indicate that Biden’s proposed $45 billion for HBCUs could be reduced by congressional Democrats to $2 billion. But even if the amount is reduced, it would be an increase, not a cut, in funding for HCBUs.
Amid tense federal budget negotiations among Democrats, social media posts made a false claim that President Joe Biden cut funding for historically Black colleges and universities by $30 billion.
"Biden Breaks Promise, Cuts $30B to Black Colleges & Universities," read the headline on a video that is shared to an Instagram post.
Another Instagram post also made the $30 billion claim about what are known as HBCUs.
The posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
It’s not clear how the claim arrives at $30 billion, but the suggestion that the HBCUs are receiving funding cuts is wrong.
"It’s a lie," tweeted Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, an HBCU.
Biden proposed a $3.5 trillion spending plan, sometimes referred to as the budget reconciliation bill, now being debated by Democrats in Congress. It included $45 billion in new funding for HCBUs and other minority-serving institutions to update their research programs, create incubators to help students innovate and help traditionally underserved populations.
The Associated Press reported on Oct. 5 that the latest iteration of the reconciliation bill includes only $2 billion that can go toward educational programs and infrastructure for Black colleges, and even that amount would be reduced to competitive grant funding rather than direct allocations.
No final decisions have been made on the bill, but as it stands, HBCUs stand to gain funding, not experience a cut, said Kevin Miller, associate director for higher education at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
"It is not a cut. It will be an increase of $2 billion instead of $45 billion," said Harry Williams, president & CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which advocates for HBCUs. "It’s not a cut, because you can’t cut what we’ve never had."
He also noted that it remains unclear whether the $2 billion, if that ultimately is what is approved, will be set aside for HBCUs, or shared among HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions.
Responsibility for how much HBCUs ultimately get rests with Democrats in the Congress, which must agree on a final bill, although Biden would have to sign it into law.
"President proposes, Congress disposes," said G. William Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
We rate the post False.
Instagram, post, Oct. 4, 2021
Interview, Harry Williams, president & CEO, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Oct. 7, 2021
The Grio, "Rep. Adams threatens to vote against spending bill over HBCU funding," Sept. 22, 2021
Washington Post, "HBCU advocates urge Congress to deliver on Biden’s promises," Sept. 10, 2021
Inside Higher Ed, "Biden’s Promise to HBCUs Unfulfilled by Congress," Sept. 22, 2021
The White House, "FACT SHEET: The American Jobs Plan," March 31, 2021
Email, Jeff Lieberson, executive vice president and senior vice president of public affairs, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Oct. 7, 2021
Twitter, Dillard University president Walter Kimbrough tweets, Oct. 5, 2021
The White House, "FACT SHEET: The American Families Plan," April 28, 2021
Email, Bipartisan Policy Center senior vice president G. William Hoagland, Oct. 7, 2021
Email, Bipartisan Policy Center associate director for higher education Kevin Miller, Oct. 7, 2021
House of Representatives, "Build Back Better Act"
Associated Press, "Black Colleges' Funding Hopes Dim Amid Federal Budget Battle," Oct. 5, 2021
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