FAMU Students File Lawsuit Against Florida Over Underfunding

The lawsuit alleges the HBCU isn’t receiving the same type of funding as other public universities in the state.

Students at Florida A&M University are suing their state for not adequately funding the Tallahassee HBCU.

According to CBS News, on Sept. 22, a 22-page class-action lawsuit was filed in federal court in Florida, accusing the State of Florida and the Florida Board of Governors of decades of underfunding. The lawsuit alleges FAMU isn't receiving the same funding as public universities in Florida. The suit alleges that as Florida A&M University and the University of Florida are both land-grant universities, both institutions should receive equal per-student funding. However, according to CBS News, the lawsuit argues “state leaders have created a $1.3 billion funding gap.” From 2018 to 2021, Florida A&M University received $98.4 million in state aid, while the University of Florida was given $415.6 million.

The lack of proper funding at FAMU, founded in 1887, has caused many challenges for students. Just last month, a recreation center was forced to close temporarily and students were displaced after one dormitory closed because of flood damage and an insect infestation.

Josh Dubin, a lawyer for one of the six students who filed the lawsuit, said in a statement, "This deliberate indifference toward HBCUs is not unique to Florida, but FAMU is where we're joining the fight to ensure the education is fair for everyone.”

RELATED: FAMU Ranked As The Top Public HBCU 

Barbara Hart, an attorney at Grant & Eisenhofer who is representing the students, told The Washington Post, “We drilled into the numbers and the obligations to fund the school at parity, and not only is that not the case currently, but it’s also not been the case for quite some time historically. It’s the kind of issue that compounds problems over time in terms of recruitment, prestige and research.”

Neither the State of Florida nor the Florida Board of Governors have released an statement on the lawsuit.

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