After Destroying the DC Voucher Program, What Does Obama Do For An Encore? Defunds Historical Black Colleges

It wasn’t too long ago that the Obama administration, in conjunction with Senate Democrats, destroyed a DC voucher program that allowed DC parents to send their children to private schools.  This was a Democrat united front to destroy school choice.

And it seems that wasn’t enough.  In the proposed Obama budget, historical Black colleges are seeing a reduction in what “they call a financial lifeline at a time of economic distress for the schools and their students.”

That’s right.  President Bush funded black colleges better than the first black president. 

President Obama’s education budget, unveiled Thursday, included major spending increases in many areas — but didn’t include an extra $85 million that black institutions have received annually for the past two years thanks to a 2007 change to the student loan laws.

That two-year-old program provided direct funds to federally recognized HBCUs — historically black colleges and universities.

Education Department officials emphasized that such institutions stand to gain from other parts of the budget, notably the proposed increase in the maximum Pell Grant for low-income students by $200 — to $5,550.

Before we go any further, I want to make it clear. I don’t think a single federal dollar should go towards education, unless that dollar is earned in the service of the country, for example, the GI Bill.

That being said, I think this is an important point to make. Historical black colleges can count on going under.

According to the National Student News Service, they make the bulk of their money off of student tuition. While the Pell grants will help get students to return, the lack of funding from the government will hurt. There are two reasons for this.

The lack of direct government funding coupled with the increase in Pell grant money will result in a increase in tuition costs, resulting in more students not returning, which will foster a need for more Pell grant money and so on. Nice downward spiral created.

Two, enrollment in historical black colleges is down:

Total U.S. college enrollment of black men and women ages 18 to 24 has increased from 15 percent in 1970 to roughly 25 percent in 2003. The number of black students enrolling in historically black schools has slowly increased, too, from 190,305 in 1976 to more than 230,000 in 2001.

But the percentage of black college students choosing a black school has been slipping, from 18.4 percent in 1976 to 12.9 percent in 2001, according to the U.S. Education Department’s most recent figures.

Twenty-six of 87 black schools profiled by the department recorded enrollment declines between 1995 and 2004.

Alabama’s Talladega College topped the list, losing nearly 54 percent of its students. The University of the District of Columbia, which boasted 9,663 students in 1995, had 5,168 in 2004. More troubling to some, enrollment was down at black powerhouses like Fisk and Tuskegee during the same period. (As for some other elite black schools, enrollment was flat at Morehouse between 1995 and 2004, and was up 11.5 percent at Spelman.)

To recap, in a time of serious economic hardship and dwindling admissions, the Obama administration drastically cuts funding to historical black colleges and tells them to count on more admissions.

I wonder if President Bush could have gotten away with this.

No, I don’t. I know he couldn’t. He would have been labeled a racist by everyone from Spike Lee to Barbara Lee.

Do you think that President Bush will get credit for funding black colleges and Obama will be blamed? You and I both know the answer to that one.

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Duane Lester

Duane Lester is co-founder of All American Blogger, and the primary writer. Following graduation, Duane entered the United States Navy as a journalist. He spent five years touring the world, reporting on local news and sports. Following his enlistment, Duane spent almost 10 years working with adjudicated youth in residential treatment environments. Duane discovered politics after September 11. He credits Erich "Mancow" Muller for opening his eyes to his conservative beliefs. Since then, Duane has devoured books and literature on politics, reading everything he can from Adam Smith to Larry Elder to Thomas Sowell. He refers to his style of politics as "conserva-tarian", a mixture of conservative and libertarian beliefs.

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