A new Virginia budget redirects $10 million in funding from DACA students to HBCUs in the state.
The funding originally supported DACA students, often referred to as DREAMers, who are not eligible for federal and state funding such as loans and grants. Instead, nearly half of the funds will be distributed to the two public HBCUs in the state, Virginia State University and Norfolk State University. The other half will be used to increase tuition assistance for HBCU students.
The bill was passed through the Virginia State House and Senate. In July, The budget was signed by Governor Glenn Youngkin.
While many may see the extra funding for HBCUs as a victory, the Virginia State Government has received criticism for splitting the minority community.
“The money is redirected in a way that attempts to pit communities of color against one another and perpetuates a false scarcity problem. Both items can and should be funded,” said the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus in a statement regarding the governor’s new budget amendments.
The bill appears to correct the historical underfunding of HBCUs by the state and the Federal Government. Earlier this year, Forbes reported that Virginia State alone has been nearly $148 million underfunded by the Virginia State Government since 1987.
Yet, the American Rescue Plan funded the university around only $50,000 through the American Rescue Plan. In total, the five HBCUs in Virginia received over $141 million to assist their students.
Over the years there have been strides to highlight the intersectionality of DACA recipients and HBCU students. In 2016, Delaware State University became the first HBCU to participate in TheDream.us, a scholarship for DREAMers. The Thurgood Marshall Fund also has voiced their support for the students.
At this time, none of the Virginia HBCUs has released a statement regarding the funding.