Congressional budget spats hold back funding for North Carolina’s many HBCUs

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina is among the states with the most historically black colleges and universities. Funding that keeps those schools going is locked up in congressional limbo.

More than 100 years later, the original graduates of North Carolina Central University may hardly recognize the campus as it is today. The campus, in the heart of Durham, is both historic and modern. It continues to expand with a number of construction projects currently underway.

“This is a critical period,” said Dr. Michael Page. He is NCCU’s Director of External Affiairs. Like the rest of the nation’s HBCUs, it relies on federal funding that expired Sept. 30. The Future Act extends federal dollars for HBCUs, as well as other minority institutions. It’s vital for programs like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

“All of these are real, critical components to continue the studies here at the university and really continuing to produce graduates in these particular disciplines,” Page said.

Corinthius Giles added: “If there was no federal funding, I probably wouldn’t be here right now.”

They’re worried about what this could mean for local HBCUs like NCCU, Shaw University, and St. Augustine’s University.

“I feel like it embraces a culture. We had to come to HBCUs because we couldn’t go to PWIs, and now erasing funding is almost like erasing history,” said freshman communications major Christopher Mitchell. The university is determined to do everything it can to stop that from happening.

“This would really drastically impact our schools greatly if this does not move at the level that it really should,” Page said.

Among the other colleges and universities in North Carolina that could be affected include Elizabeth City State, Winston Salem State, North Carolina A&T, UNC Fayetteville, UNC Pembroke, and Bennett College.

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