New Jersey Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker unveiled on Tuesday (December 3), an ambitious proposal to invest $100 billion in historically Black colleges and universities.
Booker, whose parents graduated from Fisk University and North Carolina Central University, also called for an additional $30 billion in grants to improve STEM education at HBCUs and $30 billion more in grants to upgrade facilities and infrastructure at the schools.
The HBCU plan is the largest, in-terms of dollar amount, by any of the Democratic candidates vying for the presidency in 2020.
More specifically, Booker’s plan calls for an expansion of college access by doubling the value of Pell Grants from $6,200 to $12,400, while also requiring that 10 percent of Second Chance Pell Grant programs are given to Black colleges and other minority-serving institutions. Currently, more than 70 percent of students at HBCUs receive Pell Grants.
“HBCUs make our country stronger and more reflective of the diversity that makes us so great,” Booker said while laying out his proposal. “I am here today because of the power of these institutions to uplift and bring about opportunity to Black Americans.”
Kamala Harris was the only Democratic presidential candidate to attend an HBCU, graduating from Howard University in 1986. Booker attended Stanford, Yale and Oxford University.