Tom Steyer 2020
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Tom Steyer Announces 10-Year Plan to Revitalize HBCUs in South Carolina and Across the Country

Steyer discusses HBCU 2030 plan with State Representative Jerry Govan and Allen University students

(COLUMBIA, SC, December 10, 2019) –– 
Today, Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer announced his HBCU 2030 plan to revitalize our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Steyer unveiled his plan at Allen University, an HBCU in Columbia, South Carolina. In conversation with Representative Jerry Govan and Allen University students, Steyer discussed the need to invigorate the next generation of leaders, pioneer new research, and continue the proud academic legacy of HBCUs in our nation. 

“For as long as they’ve existed, HBCUs have been underfunded and left to do more with less—all while producing some of the world’s most brilliant leaders. My HBCU 2030 plan will address these financial hardships, expand economic opportunities, and ensure that our nation’s African American students have the ability to succeed and lead from out front, ” said Steyer. 

Steyer’s 4-part plan will invest $125 billion in federal resources over 10 years to enhance the White House Initiative on HBCUs and strengthen Centers of Innovation across HBCU campuses, establish a Board of Regents for long-term governance, and foster community impact partnerships across public and private sectors.  

South Carolina State Rep. Jerry Govan, an HBCU graduate and senior advisor to the Steyer campaign, also spoke of the plan:

“As a proud HBCU graduate, I know that my time at South Carolina State University gave me a sense of community that I have carried with me throughout my life and career in politics. HBCUs forge pathways of opportunity for young black Americans across the country; we need a president who invests in HBCUs, so that they are around and thriving for this generation and the next. Tom is that person.” 

HBCUs have seen massive cuts in federal funding because far too often, their financial resources are at the whims of politicians. To begin leveling the playing field, Steyer’s unprecedented $125 billion investment will improve infrastructure, services and facilities for educators, administrators, and students, as well as provide technical assistance to help schools build their endowments. 

Steyer’s 10-year plan will bolster the White House initiative on HBCUs. Within 180 days, the White House Initiative on HBCUs will develop a stronger HBCU governing structure that allows for more independent decision-making without putting federal assistance at risk. To help foster a stronger, long-lasting connection between HBCUs and their communities, Steyer will establish a Board of Regents to oversee governance across the diverse HBCU system, allow for more governing independence, coordinate state and federal resources, and ensure HBCUs thrive for future generations. 

In addition to funding, Steyer’s plan recognizes that training the next generation of academics, entrepreneurs, and innovators means committing to research and development on HBCU campuses. That is why Steyer will invest in strengthening and replicating HBCU centers of innovation to spur entrepreneurship, and develop research and development opportunities in STEM fields, healthcare, business, civic engagement, criminal justice, environmental protection, and more. 

Crucially, HBCUs are engines that spur economic growth and foster communities within their regions. To continue growing opportunity in HBCU communities, Steyer’s plan will assist schools in forging strategic partnerships with community organizations, foundations, nonprofits, and other federal, state and local agencies. 

Steyer’s HBCU 2030 Plan recognizes that when we empower our nation’s young people, their prosperity builds communities –– now and for the future.

HBCU 2030

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have a proud legacy. Born out of segregation and slavery, they produced a majority of African American judges, doctors, and teachers.

These institutions of higher learning are making academic breakthroughs, pioneering new research, and educating our next generation of leaders. They have shaped our society and culture through art, music, and exploration of the humanities.

But many HBCUs are facing 
dire economic circumstances and as a result, some are facing closure. More than other schools, HBCUs depend on tuition as the main source of revenue. The student body disproportionately relies on federal student aid and loans to pay for expenses at a time when federal assistance is getting cut. And to top it off, HBCUs have seen 42% of their federal funding disappear from 2003 until 2015.

Tom recognizes that when we provide our nation’s young people the tools to succeed, we are all better off. For the vast majority of Americans, education is the doorway to a fulfilling life and career, which is why Tom is committed to making the necessary critical investments to ensure that more students have the ability to succeed.

Tom commits to:

Investing an unprecedented $125 billion in federal resources to HBCUs.
 The money will be distributed over the course of ten years, starting with $35 billion in the first year to address immediate infrastructure needs. Tom’s plan then allocates $10 billion dollars every year after that to be used for educators and administrators, technology, infrastructure, student services, and other activities. It would also provide technical assistance to help schools build their endowments.

Creating a HBCU Board of Regents.
 Within 180 days, the White House Initiative on HBCUs will develop a stronger HBCU governing structure that allows for more independent decision-making without putting federal assistance at risk. It will administer a new HBCU Board of Regents, which will coordinate state and federal resources, programming, and ensure fiscal accountability. It will work with businesses and nonprofits to further research, endowment support, and student services.

Establishing HBCU Centers of Innovation. 
HBCUs train the next generation of academics, entrepreneurs, and innovators. Tom will establish or build on existing HBCU Centers of Innovation to train a workforce in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields as well as healthcare, business, civic engagement, criminal justice, and environmental protection.

Fostering Strategic Partnerships. 
HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in economic activity and support 130,000 jobs within their regional communities–most of which are off-campus. A Steyer Administration will assist schools in forging relationships and formal partnerships with federal, state and local governments and agencies, the private sector, and nonprofits to help address the economic, environmental, and social needs in the communities where they are located. When we empower our young people, their prosperity will build communities — now and for the future.

Finally, a Steyer Administration will support a number of bills that are languishing in Congress’s refusal to comprehensively address the issues facing HBCUs. These bills include:

  • The HBCU Partners Act (H.R. 1054), which requires all federal agencies with programs or oversight of HBCUs to expand their work with the schools. This bill would also codify the President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs.
  • The HBCU Historic Preservation Reauthorization (H.R. 870). Delivers $70 million to preserve historic structures on campus.
  • College Affordability Act (H.R. 4674). This funds student financial assistance and academic programs while also permanently reauthorizing mandatory funding for HBCUs.