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House Ag Committee Looks to Make HCBU Scholarships Permanent; VSU President Gives Testimony

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Facebook / Virginia State University
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The head of the US House Agriculture Committee said the committee would push to permanently fund scholarships for Historically Black Colleges and Universities that received funding from the farm bill, which expires in 2023.

Rep. David Scott of Georgia said he wanted to permanently fund the $80 million in scholarships in a hearing on 1890 Land Grant Institutions. Virginia State University is an 1890 institution, which are historically black institutions. It receives $2,757,895 from the Farm Bill scholarship money, which are targeted for full expenditure by 2024, according to a university spokesperson.

Virginia Tech is Virginia’s other a land grant university, but is known as an 1862 institution. The years do not refer to the universities’ founding, but rather to when Congress passed two acts regarding allocating endowment money from the sale of Native American land.

Both Tech and VSU have a role in providing public services in agriculture, and run Virginia Cooperative Extension, but Virginia State is also an Historically Black University.

“Our 1890 institutions provide some of the best bang for the buck for the federal dollar in terms of helping whether it's helping students here at VSU,” said VSU President Makola Abdullah. “Or to help socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers to become an important part of our food ecosystem.”

The farm bill has to be passed every five years, so the clock is ticking until 2023. Chairman David Scott said he wants to change that.

“Now we must go forward and establish this 1890 land grant colleges and universities scholarship program, permanent.”

Other 1890 universities include North Carolina A&T State University and West Virginia State University.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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