White House Awards $93M In Grants for R&D at HBCUs, Tribal Schools, Other MSIs

The administration is raising the bar on excellence and closing the equity gap, says Education Secretary Cardona.

Five historically Black universities are on a list of 20 institutions serving students of color to receive federal education funding for research and development and to improve completion rates for underserved students.

The Education Department announced $93 million in grants to the HBCUs, Tribally Controlled Colleges and Universities (TCCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) on Friday (Dec. 8).

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the Biden-Harris administration recognizes the urgency of creating opportunities for students of color and other underserved students to succeed in cutting-edge fields. 

“These grant awards will help many of our nation’s most inclusive and diverse colleges and universities expand their capacity to drive research and innovation, and propel more students to graduation day and fulfilling careers,” Cardona said. 

“This is how we Raise the Bar for college excellence and attainment in this country and close equity gaps in higher education that have no place in the 21st century.” 

White House: States Must Adequately Fund Land-Grant HBCUs Owed Nearly $13 Billion

The department provides the new grants under the Research and Development Infrastructure (RDI) and Postsecondary Student Success Grant (PSSG) programs. 

HBCU grantees under the RDI program are Hampton University, Southern University and A&M College, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Texas Southern University and Tennessee State University.

The RDI program funds HBCUs, TCCUs, and MSIs to transform their research infrastructure, including strengthening research productivity, faculty expertise, physical infrastructure, and partnerships leading to increases in external funding. 

For HBCUs and MSIs, the grant will support their efforts to increase research activity in alignment with the Carnegie Classification designations to move from the Doctoral and Professional Universities (D/PU) classification toward the Doctoral Universities with High Research Activity (R2) classification.

It also will increase their classification from the Doctoral Universities with High Research Activity (R2) toward the Doctoral Universities with Very High Research Activity (R1) category. 

Under the RDI program, Hampton University in Virginia will receive $4,962,986 to progress to R2 by establishing an Interdisciplinary Climate Science Degree Program embedded in a National Center for Climate Modeling Research.

Louisiana’s Southern University and A&M College will receive $4,999,999 to progress to R1 by establishing, among other things, multidisciplinary research centers focused on advanced manufacturing and biological sciences.


To progress to R1, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore is slated to receive $4,680,568 to establish the Futures Institute, which will recruit Ph.D. students, assistant professors, a proficient grant writer, and world-leading scientists to serve as research mentors for faculty and students.

The department awarded Texas Southern University a grant of $4,996,543 to progress to R1 through increasing research productivity and innovation, building physical research infrastructure, recruiting faculty expertise and other activities.

Tennessee State University will receive $4,946,573 toward reaching the R1 category by establishing the Center of Biomedical Sciences to strengthen biomedical and behavioral research capacity and capabilities.

In addition to the five HBCUs, the department awarded RDI program grants to two TCCUs, three Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs), and a dual HSI and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution (AANAPISI).

HBCUs are not among the nine institutions receiving grants through PSSG.

According to the department, this new funding builds on more than $25 billion to HBCUs, MSIs, and TCCUs since President Joe Biden took office, including $7.3 billion in cumulative investments in HBCUs.

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