Black Lawmakers Establish Congressional Caucus to Support Predominantly Black Institutions

PBIs are made up of mainly two-year colleges that serve 6.8 percent of the entire Black population that pursues postsecondary education.

A group of  Black lawmakers announced the launching of a new congressional caucus to empower and address the concerns of Black Institutions, The Hill reports.

Led by Democratic representatives. Robin Kelly, Danny K. Davis, Jonathan Jackson, each from Illinois, and Yvette D. Clarke from New York, the Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) Caucus was introduced at a news conference on Wednesday (October 25).

According to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute, PBIs are made up of mainly two-year colleges that serve 6.8 percent of the entire Black population that pursues postsecondary education. Because they are primarily two-year institutions, they are distinguished from HBCUs.

Davis shared about the importance of establishing the PBI Caucus which will “help legislators understand the importance of these colleges and universities and to advance policies to help these institutions and their students thrive.”

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“Predominantly Black Institutions play an essential role in educating Black students in Chicago and across the country,” Davis said. “I am proud that my work to create PBIs helped bring over $45 million to the PBIs in Chicago, including Chicago State University; Kennedy-King College; Malcolm X College; Olive-Harvey College; Prairie State College; and South Suburban College.”

Clarke added that PBIs have given a chance to students of color for several decades.

"I’ve long fought to ensure PBIs have the funding they need to support our nation’s future leaders and take great pride in my work to secure more than $31 million in funding for New York PBIs, including the City University of New York, Medgar Evers College, Borough of Manhattan Community College, Metropolitan College of New York, and others,” she noted. “As members of Congress, we have a moral responsibility to support these colleges for the students who rely on them, and I am honored to stand alongside my colleagues in the creation of this critical PBI Caucus."

Congress began recognizing PBIs under the College Cost Reduction and Access Act which was enacted in 2007. The legislation, which was sponsored by former President Barack Obama when he served in the U.S. Senate, Davis and then-Rep. Major Owens (D-N.Y.), to “expand access to federal grants to institutions with limited wealth for colleges serving low-income Black Americans. “

Across the country, there are approximately 110 PBIs serving more than 448,000 students, many of whom are first-generation and low-income students, per the press release announcing why the caucus was created.

The PBI Caucus plans to work with policymakers to get a full understanding of the needs of PBIs so that legislation can be passed to impact the institutions.

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