HBCU Funding Bill Passes Initial Senate Vote
A bill giving $577 million dollars to Maryland’s four historically Black colleges and universities gained initial approval in the state Senate Wednesday.
Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed an almost-identical bill last year, citing its cost and uncertainty about the state’s finances due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The bill is intended to settle a 14-year-old lawsuit alleging that programs at predominantly white universities that duplicated programs at the HBCUs reduced their enrollment and income and increased racial segregation among the state’s public universities.
“The one that kind of broke the camel's back was an MBA program that was at Morgan [State University],” Sen. Charles Sydnor, the bill’s sponsor, said during a January interview.
He said Towson University created its own MBA program, duplicating the one at Morgan State.
“What was a diverse program at Morgan slowly but surely became less diverse as students began leaving or not applying to Morgan's program and applying to the program at Towson,” Sydnor said.
The $577 million in the bill, which would be dispersed over 10 years, is contingent on the parties in the lawsuit reaching a settlement by June 1.
The bill could get a final vote in the Senate as soon as Friday. The House’s version of the same bill is sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Jones.