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New federal funding for HBCU means more opportunities for students

By Ciara Cummings, WRDW

Over $250 million is heading to historically Black colleges and universities. Federal law now mandates it – permanently.

It’s a big help for many area schools.

The new year is bringing hope to Paine College and its students.

“I’m just hoping in the next year we get more activities and more things on campus to do,” student Chloe said.

It was the rich history and close-knit community which led Chloe to attend. But the very history of enrollment proves to be an on-going issue.

Paine Provost Dr. Curtis Martin says at last check, there were only about 380 students at Paine.

He knows looming problems with accreditation and financial burdens have played a role. But the future act could possibly offer a brighter outcome.

“When you’re not sure about the funding, funding becomes the focus and not the plan,” Martin said.

Now that they got a least $1 million per year in federal money coming in, they can focus on new faculty recruitment, more scholarships, and additional certification programs.

“Right now, the focus for us is cyber security, which, of course, is a 21st century program, and this bill will certainly allow us to do that,” Martin said.

For as long as the school has been here, is as long as the institution has been without federal funding of this magnitude.

Paine plans to take this “permanent” money and invest into ways to ensure their students can compete academically compared to bigger schools and in the workforce.

“What I hope to see in 2020 is that Paine College become the institution that we want it to be, that we’re standing firmly,” Martin said.

“It’s been here since 1882, that it will be here in 2082.”

This article originally appeared in WRDW.

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