NWLC Urges Senate Leadership Not to Hold Funding for Institutions Serving Students of Color Hostage in Order to Pass Higher Education Act Abandoning Civil Rights Priorities

(Washington, D.C.) On Sept. 17, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FUTURE Act (H.R. 2486), a bipartisan bill that would provide urgently needed spending for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. Despite the bill also having bipartisan support in the Senate, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, is threatening to block the bill unless the Senate also approves a stripped down reauthorization of the Higher Education Act that fails to address issues of critical importance to civil and women’s rights—including provisions to fight campus sexual assault, increase campus safety and remove educational barriers for pregnant and parenting students.

The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center:

“HBCUs and other Minority Serving Institutions provide post-secondary educational opportunities to almost five million undergraduate students, many of them students of color. Senate leadership must not hold hostage much needed aid to these institutions, which serve a full 30 percent of all college students, in order to push through a stripped-down Higher Education Act that will not expand college access or affordability for women, student parents, survivors of harassment and violence, or other historically marginalized students. We urge the Senate to quickly pass the FUTURE Act and to reject any reauthorization of HEA that is not comprehensive or consistent with principles supported by 48 civil rights groups and educational organizations.”