NCCU could benefit from Hagan proposal

May. 14, 2014 @ 03:05 PM

Debra Saunders-White, chancellor of N.C. Central University in Durham, sees great promise in a bill proposed Tuesday by Sen. Kay Hagan.

Hagan, a North Carolina Democrat, on Monday told the Senate Education Committee that she’ll introduce a bill to form an HBCU Innovation Fund to strengthen historically black colleges and universities, such as NCCU.

If approved, the new competitive grant program would provide a one-year grant to plan, design and develop innovations that address issues affecting students or a five-year grant -- conditional on a three-year progress check-- to achieve specific outcomes.

“For more than a century, institutions like North Carolina Central University have educated, graduated and produced the best talent for North Carolina and the global marketplace,” Saunders-White said. “Senator Hagan’s proposed bill would invest critical resources into HBCUs so that we can continue creating cutting-edge programs and innovative opportunities for our students” in fields such as those in the STEM disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The bill would require grant recipients to secure a 15 percent match from an external source and to conduct independent evaluations, tracking success against measures set out in the application.

“Our HBCUs provide North Carolina students a quality education, and we must continue supporting these institutions in their drive toward innovation,” Hagan said in a statement. “My bill will allow them to further enhance their students’ learning experience and better prepare them for success in the workforce.”

The planning grants would be capped at $100,000 and implementation grants would be capped at $10 million per school, said Hannah Smith, deputy press secretary for Hagan.

Among the goals of the proposal: increase the number of African American men who attain postsecondary degrees, build partnerships between HBCUs and local high schools and strengthen partnerships between HBCUs and other institutions to support entrepreneurship and research.

“This funding will enable students attending NCCU and our sister institutions to earn a highly marketable competitive degree in industries that are poised for significant growth in the Triangle region, throughout North Carolina and across the U.S.,” Saunders-White said.

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