HBCUs: Trump Positioned to Embarrass Barack Obama on Black College Policies

HBCUs: Trump Positioned to Embarrass Barack Obama on Black College Policies


Though the first three weeks of the Trump presidency have been filled with legal setbacks on immigration, amateurish management and political distraction, there’s one subject that looks like it could place President Trump in front of President Obama in terms of results: Policy around Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Less than three weeks in office the Trump Administration is in the process of writing an executive order on HBCUs and there’s loud talk of increased funding. House Republicans are working in parallel with the White House on the issue and will host a HBCU event on February 28 in Washington, D.C.

HBCUs were given a rough ride during the eight years President Obama was in office.  Often HBCU advocates were left out of the loop by the Obama White House on policies directly impacting their colleges and universities and members of Congress were often placed in the position of having to protect HBCUs from Administration policy.   

In 2009, President Obama’s first budget cut $73 million in funding for HBCUs. The money was later replaced after members of Congress, led by former House Education Committee Chairman George Miller, scrambled to find a way to fill the shortfall.

In 2011, the Department of Education decided to make it harder for parents to secure Parent PLUS loans by tightening credit worthiness standards. The change hit the parents of HBCU students disproportionately and 28,000 HBCU students had their education interrupted. HCBU advocates made plans to sue the Obama Administration over the change but later decided not to. HBCUs collectively lost $300 million in tuition over the Parent PLUS loan decision.

In September 2013, President Obama’s Education Secretary Arne Duncan apologized to HBCU leaders and advocates for the Parent PLUS loan decision and the lack of communication.

“Communication internally and externally was poor,” Duncan said. “I apologize for that, and for the real impact it has had,” he added. In early 2013, a total of over 400,000 parents had been rejected for Parent PLUS loans.

In February 2015, President Obama was critical of Historically Black Colleges and Universities during a tense meeting with members of the Congressional Black Caucus.  Only a few weeks before the meeting, President Obama’s own White House HBCU Advisory Board Chair, Hampton University President Dr. William Harvey, was critical of the Obama Administration.

“Pell grants to students at HBCUs are down. Direct loans to our students are down. Graduate subsidies have been eliminated.  In addition to student support, overall support to Black colleges is down,” Dr. Harvey, who has been President of Hampton since 1978, said in 2015.


Lauren Victoria Burke can be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke


  1. Is this all about “embarrassing” President Obama, or is it about “helping” HBCUs? Because if it is about embarrassing President Barack Obama, that cheapens any effort that President Trump does, and it will be noticed.

  2. Until there is a real position enumerated by Trump administration there is no there there. You can’t compare the possibility of a position until it is exposed. Omarosa is an imposter and cannot be taken seriously.

  3. It’s sad to read an article that is so lacking in substance. I fail to see the writers objective and question why the HBC online magazine would even print such an article. Trump is “in the process of writing an executive order on HBC’s and there’s loud talk of increased funding”. What has he done? President Trump is in the process ??? Really? Was the objective to give Trump favorable publicity after a failed Black History Month press conference? A press conference where…in referencing African Americans, he says “they’re incredible people” and speaks as if Frederick Douglass is living among us. Sean Spicer than follows up in his daily press conference and speaks of a series of Black History Month events that will take place at the White House during the month of February. Spicer gives an example of one of the events citing the U.S. Post Office’s ceremony unveiling the Dorothy Height forever stamp. That particular event has nothing to do with Donald Trump, wasn’t held at the White House and celebrates the “40th”stamp in the Post Office’s Black Heritage Series (obviously planned long before this president took office). We’ll wait to see if the executive order is written and most importantly, analyze it to see what type of financial assistance it actually provides to HBC’s.

  4. Our HBCUs did not make this an issue during President Obama’s term in office, I would say review the data. I loved our President, however his lack of support for one of the most important educational pipelines in the Black community can no longer be hidden, the record speaks for itself. Many of us knew this and spoke about it in small groups, but kept it at the family dicussion level only.

    According to Robin White Goode, Education Editor of Black Enterprise “HBCUs represent about 3% of colleges in the U.S. This small group of colleges confers 40% of all STEM degrees and 60% of all engineering degrees earned by Black students. They also educate half of the country’s Black teachers and 40% of all Black health professionals. And they do this with much less funding support than that of treaditionally institutions”

    Awareness of the facts are very important and our HBCU leadership should not be critized for working on behalf of their institutions….they truly are a NATIONAL Treasure and therefore deserve support regardless of who is President.

  5. If Trump goes ahead with the plan. It would be great and not promoted as an ’embarrassment’ to Obama. Obama didn’t do for blacks, any president that does for blacks would easily do alot more, than Obama did.

  6. Please miss me with the alternative facts in this article! Let’s see if Trump outdoes President Obama.

    “Over the course of 7 years, the Obama Administration has invested more than $4 billion in HBCUs, because these institutions are vital engines of economic growth and proven ladders of advancement for generations of African Americans.
    Under the Obama Administration, 1 million more African-American and Latino students have enrolled in college. What’s more, black and Hispanic students earned more than 270,000 more undergraduate degrees in 2013-2014 than in 2008-2009. This Administration remains focused on continuing to increase the number of students who successfully complete college. To that end, the Department has worked to make new opportunities available to HBCUs.” Source US Department of Education