By: Nicole Verrett, FAS Vice President of Client Engagement
The annual National HBCU Week Conference is a pivotal event that brings together leaders nationwide to discuss and celebrate the enduring legacy of HBCUs. This year’s conference marked a significant milestone in the journey of these institutions that have played a crucial role in advancing educational equity, excellence, and opportunity. Here, we provide a recap of the HBCU Week Conference and the key sessions and takeaways from this week-long event.
Noteworthy Session: Enhancing Institutional Partnerships
“Enhancing Institutional Partnerships: A Pathway for Presidents/Senior Level Administrators” was a key session, led by Federal Student Aid’s Chief Operating Officer. This session highlighted opportunities for collaboration between HBCUs and federal programs. It provided updates on initiatives to assist student loan borrowers and improve loan servicing platforms. The session also emphasized the importance of feedback from President/Senior-level administrators in shaping future initiatives.
Key Takeaway 1: Historic Investments in HBCUs
The HBCU Week Conference also served as a platform to celebrate the historic investments made by the current Administration to HBCUs. These investments include over $7 billion allocated to support HBCUs, with specific initiatives such as:
- COVID Relief: $3.6 billion in funding through the American Rescue Plan and other COVID relief measures.
- Debt Relief: $1.6 billion in capital finance debt relief for 45 public and private HBCUs.
- Grant Funding: $1.7 billion in grant funding to expand academic capacity and support low-income students.
- Pell Grants: A significant increase in Pell Grants, bringing the maximum award to $7,395, benefiting approximately 75% of HBCU students.
- Research and Development: A new $50 million grant program to support research and development infrastructure.
- Institutional Development: A $758 million investment for HBCU institutional development.
These investments reflect a commitment to addressing funding disparities and ensuring that HBCUs have the resources they need to excel.
Key Takeaway 2: Pioneering Initiatives in Support of HBCUs
The HBCU Week Conference also showcased pioneering initiatives aimed at strengthening HBCUs, including:
- The U.S. Air Force’s HBCU-led University Affiliated Research Center, funded at $90 million over five years.
- The Department of Commerce’s Connecting-Minority-Communities program funds 43 HBCUs to improve internet access.
- Prairie View A&M University in Texas became the first-ever HBCU to lead a University Transportation Center.
- The Department of Energy’s Funding for Accelerated, Inclusive Research (FAIR) Program, offers over $35 million to build research capacity at historically excluded institutions.
- National Science Foundation programs aimed at breaking down barriers in STEM fields.
These initiatives demonstrate a commitment to innovation, research, and diversity within HBCUs and the broader academic community.
Key Takeaway 3: Connecting with FAS Clients
The conference also provided an opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of our clients. It was truly a wonderful experience to connect and listen to the inspiring success stories of their teams and the remarkable achievements they are accomplishing. Throughout our 30+ years of service, Financial Aid Services, LLC (FAS) is proud to have collaborated with 41 HBCUs.
FAS Releases updated President’s Guide
The President’s Guide is a comprehensive resource that provides valuable insights and actionable strategies for Higher Education Presidents, leaders, and administrators. It offers a roadmap for strengthening an institution’s confidence in federal compliance and regulatory standards. We are excited to introduce the updated guide, it is a vital resource designed to assist university presidents in identifying and addressing potential compliance issues related to institutional administration of federal student financial aid.
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Are you confident that your institution’s compliance needs align with current federal regulations and exceed standard requirements? Contact us today to ensure you’re on the right track and to explore how our resources can help you excel in compliance.