For more than a century, Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)—Bowie State University, Morgan State University, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Coppin State University—have served as engines of upward socioeconomic mobility and powerful institutions central to the success of the black community.
Yet the State of Maryland has historically underfunded, and provided less programmatic support, for these four universities, particularly compared to their predominantly white institution (PWI) counterparts in the University System of Maryland. Following the lawsuit brought by the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, the Courts have determined that intentional degree program duplication within the University System of Maryland has harmed the state’s HBCUs, having resulted in fewer students and less revenue that can be used to provide essential educational services.
Krish is committed to making Maryland HBCUs the best in the nation by investing heavily in their continued excellence and competitiveness. Upon entering office, Krish’s administration will immediately invest $500 million in programs, scholarships, and infrastructure, and then build out a model to further completely fund Maryland’s HBCUs in the next decade. The state must fully acknowledge and account for the systemic racism that perpetuated decades of underfunding and lost opportunities for these essential institutions.
1. Debt-Free Tuition: Krish will guarantee debt-free in-state tuition for all Marylanders accepted to attend an HBCU, similar to the free community college program that Krish has proposed. The State shall provide grants to complement existing scholarship and Pell grant programs for Maryland residents to ensure that HBCU attendance is debt-free for all students who qualify for financial assistance.
2. HBCU Endowments: Currently, the four Maryland HBCUs have endowments of $80 million combined (in comparison the endowments of UMD and UMBC’s are $540 million and $80 million, respectively). Part of the State’s reparation commitments should be to help each of the HBCUs build substantial endowments by providing $100 million in matching funds to accelerate HBCU fundraising campaigns.
3. Prepare Graduates for Well-Paying Jobs: Creating high demand academic programs at HBCUs is essential to their long term competitiveness. We must develop curricula in partnership with local employers and government institutions to maximize post-graduate job placement opportunities. Focusing on curricula in science, technology, engineering, math, biosciences, healthcare, informatics, and financial services all offer significant opportunities. Similar to earlier partnerships with federal institutions, like NASA, and local medical facilities, like Johns Hopkins, programs should be targeted at growing professions that provide the greatest opportunities for gainful employment.
4. Joint Degree Programs: The State will work closely with HBCUs and the University System of Maryland to develop additional joint programs with local colleges and universities that expand opportunities for students and reduce competition among state universities.
5. Halt Programmatic Duplication: A federal judge has ruled that the constitutional rights of students at Maryland’s HBCUs were violated by the duplication of programs at nearby predominately white institutions. Krish’s administration will ensure that any duplication that occured is eliminated and the harm caused by duplication is remedied. In addition, her administration will ensure no future violations of constitutional rights will occur from program duplication.