TMCF POLICY PRIORITIES
Great advocacy requires an understanding of the political and legislative process, expertise on know how to navigate Capitol Hill and a willingness to move forward in a non-partisan manner. The TMCF Government Relations team works to serve as a national voice for the HBCU community before policy makers and other influencers. We work to build alliances with members of Congress and organizations that support HBCUs and TMCF priorities to advance support for students and faculty.
Whether we are pursuing increased funding for the Department of Defense HBCU program, advocating for policy changes on Parent PLUS Loans or working to increase diversity in the STEM workforce, the TMCF Government Relations team proactively takes the lead on introducing policy recommendations and solutions on tough issues in higher education. Our positions are often unique and innovative.
As we work to raise issues of concern and support around HBCUs, part of our approach is to target relevant federal agencies and members of the House and Senate who serve on key committees that have a direct impact on education policy. Please explore our site and read about our policy and funding priorities. Use our materials to join our advocacy effort.
Department of Defense Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Serving Institutions Program (HBCU/MI)
The Department of Defense (DoD) Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions (HBCU/MI) program is funded under the Defense-wide Research, Development, Test and Evaluation account. This program is designed to enhance the research capabilities, science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM) education programs of HBCUs and minority serving institutions. The purpose of the funding is to support the acquisition of research equipment and instrumentation by HBCU/MI to augment existing capabilities, or to develop new capabilities, in technical areas of interest to the DoD. This includes basic equipment for use in research and education programs, as well as more sophisticated equipment and instrumentation for faculty research. In addition, the funding has allowed minority students across the country to gain exposure to DoD research labs and high-level STEM training.
Parent PLUS Loans
Parent PLUS Loans (PPL) are federal loans that graduate or professional degree students and parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay education expenses. The U.S. Department of Education makes Direct PLUS Loans to eligible borrowers through schools participating in the Direct Loan Program. In October 2011, the U.S. Department of Education tightened credit standards for Parent PLUS Loans. The number of PPL participants and the loan dollar amounts declined substantially at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). According to a report released by the Department of Education, HBCU PPL recipients decreased by 45.7 percent in 2012-2013. The impact on non-HBCU campuses paled in comparison to HBCU campuses. TMCF continues to stand ready to assist the Department of Education in reducing the impact of the PPL changes and addressing the losses experienced by HBCUs and their students, especially low-income and first generation students.
An Expanded America’s College Promise Program
In 2015, President Obama unveiled The America’s College Promise proposal, a plan that would create a new partnership with states to help them waive tuition in high-quality programs for responsible students, while promoting key reforms to help more students complete at least two years of college. This proposed restructuring of the community college experience, combined with free tuition, can lead to gains in student enrollment, persistence, and completion transfer, and employment.
The proposal will require a combined effort, charging community colleges to strengthen their programs and increase their graduation rates, states to invest more in higher education and training, and students to take responsibility for their own education, demonstrate academic excellence and stay on track to graduate.
Components of the initiative include:
The Kresge Foundation reports, “the American economy will face a shortage of at least 16 million college graduates by 2025.” It is estimated 30% of job positions will require applicants to have some college or an associate’s degree and 35% will require at least a bachelor’s degree. 40% of college students are enrolled at one of America’s more than 1,100 community colleges. Today, more than ever, Americans must posses the knowledge and skill sets required to compete in this rapidly evolving economy.