by Emmanuel Freeman
Tennessee State University students and those enrolled at Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country will see an increase in Pell grants. Eligible students will receive an additional $500 as a part of the $1.7 trillion 2022 Omnibus Bill unveiled by congressional leaders. The final funding bill of the year also includes increased funding for research and infrastructure for HBCUs.
This is a major boost for TSU as the university undertakes several capital improvement projects, as well as efforts to achieve an R1 Carnegie research designation.
“We are thankful to Congresswoman Alma Adams, members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the White House, and all others who were instrumental in getting this legislation passed,” said Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover.
Included in the funding are several programs that will benefit TSU: $50 million for HBCU, TCU, and MSI Research and Development Infrastructure Grants, a program originally included in the IGNITE HBCU Excellence Act.
“I am proud to have secured significant wins for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the federal omnibus for Fiscal Year 2023,” said U.S. Rep. Adams (D-N.C.), founder/co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “These planning and implementation grants are designed to promote transformational investments in research infrastructure at four-year HBCUs, TCUs, and other MSIs.”
Glover, who also serves as the vice chair of President Joe Biden’s Advisory Board on HBCUs, added that the funding aligns with TSU’s plans for long-term growth and sustainability.
“I am pleased to have helped with advocating to lawmakers and others the importance of the bill that makes HBCUs stronger and helps our institutions continue the work of strengthening our communities by providing a quality education to our students,” Glover said.
“We currently have major capital infrastructure projects and increased research activities underway, This bill will provide additional resources to assist TSU in successfully reaching our goals of enhancing and upgrading our campus footprint and becoming an R1 research institution.”
TSU is in the middle of a major facelift to academic buildings, improvements to outdoor lightings and interior décor as part of a campus-wide infrastructure upgrade initiative that is expected to last through 2023.
The increase in Pell grant awards is the largest since the 2009-10 school year. Approximately 65% of TSU students depend on some type of financial aid, including the Pell grant. Nationally, about seven million students, many from lower-income families, receive Pell grants every year to help them afford college.
Terrance Izzard, TSU’s associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, echoed President Glover’s sentiments that the boost in funding for Pell grant award will help financially struggling students stay in school.
“Coming out of a pandemic, along with tough economic times, this increase in funding could not have come at a better time for parents and students,” Izzard said. “This certainly is big relief and lessens the added burden of students trying to achieve their educational goals amid high cost of tuition and other needs.”