Sarah Ford | January 20, 2015

SOTU Student Invitees Snubs HBCUs

Several college students will have the honor of attendance at tonight’s Presidential State of the Union address, but none will have the captive audience of an historically black college campus cheering on their big moments. 

A community college student, a Stanford University medical student, a first-generation college student from the University of Hartford, and the child of illegal immigrants will all have face time before an international audience, and their faces will be the images of President Barack Obama’s vision for education reforms.

But none of those faces or reforms reflect an interest or respect for America’s HBCUs, and that state of neglect is not a good look for an administration which has specialized in symbolism for black colleges, but has neutralized their effectiveness with a unique lack of compassion and investment. 

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama have served as commencement speakers for more than a half dozen HBCUs, yet many of these same HBCUs have been dealt extreme financial hardship through changes to the federal Pell Grant and PLUS Loan programs, reductions in Title III funding, and millions denied to HBCUs through research and grant allocations from federal agencies. 

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