House Panel Approves UDC Bill
A House panel has approved legislation giving the University of the District of Columbia status as a historically Black institution.The measure approved by a House D.C. subcommittee could provide UDC with $1.5 million later this year, says Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). The government would not cut funds from other HBCUs to provide the UDC funding. Instead, the government would rely on funding from a new financing plan that will help D.C. high school graduates attend any public institution nationwide at a discounted charge (see Black Issues, March 4, 1999).In effect, the District of Columbia College Access bill would allow D.C. high school graduates to pay in-state tuition rates at any public college or university nationwide. The federal government would provide funds, initially $17 million, to reimburse the college or university for the difference between the in-state tuition rate and the out-of-state rate a student would pay today.Rep. Thomas Davis (R-Va.) proposed the college aid bill late last year, and the Clinton administration adopted elements of the plan in its education budget for the year 2000. Norton then used the opportunity to seek more funds and enhanced status for UDC, which she argued should have been included as an HBCU more than a decade ago.UDC was formed in 1976 with the merger of the District of Columbia Teachers College, Federal City College, and the Washington Technical Institute — institutions that date back beyond 1964, the date usually used to signify Black college status. Norton says UDC was unjustly excluded from the HBCU program because of an erroneous belief that Congress funded the university through its District appropriation.The federal government provided $164 million to Black colleges for fiscal 1999 through Title III-B of the Higher Education Act. More than 100 institutions qualify as HBCUs under that program.
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