Florida, Texas, and Tennessee are among the 16 states that have underfunded historically Black land-grant universities by nearly $13 billion over the past three decades.
According to NBC News, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack sent letters to governors of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia, asking them to increase funding to their Black land-grant universities.
The letter said Tennessee was the biggest offender of underfunding, with Tennessee State University missing out on $2.1 billion dollars in the past 30 years.
“Unacceptable funding inequities have forced many of our nation’s distinguished historically Black colleges and universities to operate with inadequate resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development to student support services,” Cardona said in a statement on Monday (September 18).
"The nation’s land-grant universities were founded in the 19th century on federal land to further agricultural instruction and research," per NBC News. Under federal law, states are required to equally distribute funding to all of their land grant universities. A new analysis, however, found that historically Black ones were significantly underfunded.
According to the data, funds were disproportionately distributed in 16 out of 18 states that have Black land-grant universities. Delaware and Ohio provided equitable funding to all of their land grants, per the analysis.