Florida’s Black Colleges Face Big Budget Cuts

The state’s lawmakers and governor have their knives out.

Posted: 04/25/2011 07:59 AM EDT
Filed Under HBCU

Private Historically Black Colleges and Universities have over the years been underfunded. They depend on state funding to help them stay above water. But when state governments experience budget shortfalls, as most are these days, education funding is often one of the first things to be cut.

Florida’s Black colleges are preparing to take a big hit after both the state’s House and Senate passed budget proposals that would cut between $2.2 million and $3.3 million in funding, which translates into a reduction of 23 percent and 32 percent, respectively, from the year before, reports WCTV Eyewitness News.

Bethune-Cookman University, the state’s largest private Black college, could lose $1.1 million of its total budget of $68 million. That might seem like a drop in the bucket, but a shortfall is a shortfall. Bethune-Cookman president Trudie Kibbe Reed told WCTV that the burden would fall on the school, the students and their families to help fill the economic gap, since fundraising is very difficult when alumni and corporate foundations are singing the same budget blues.

Still, it could be worse. The budget proposed by Gov. Rick Scott, which includes $1.75 billion in overall education cuts, would completely eliminate state funding for all of the Black colleges, except one: Edward Waters College, located in the hometown of the state’s African-American lieutenant governor, Jennifer Carroll.

It sure can help to have friends in high places.

(Photo: Bethune-Cookman University)