May 10, 2019 - Politics & Policy

Elizabeth Warren calls for $50B investment in historically black colleges and universities

Elizabeth Warren. Ethan Miller

Sen. Elizabeth Warren — one of more than 20 Democratic presidential contenders — outlined a proposal on Friday in a blog post for Blavity, a media company focused on black millennials, to invest $50 billion in historically black colleges and universities and Minority Serving Institutions.

What she's saying: Already, Warren tackled higher education by outlining a plan to eliminate $640 billion in student debt. Warren says "HBCUs have made invaluable contributions to the fabric of this nation, but for far too long we have failed these schools and their students."

  • "These institutions have never had the same type of access to public funds like other schools, and the persistent racial wealth gap in our country has meant they don’t have the consistent support of rich alumni who can write big checks for big endowments."
  • Warren suggests that necessary funding for her plan would emerge from her previously introduced "ultra-millionaire tax ... a small 2% tax on fortunes over $50 million."
  • Her plan recommended that: "The Department of Education would have the power to automatically increase that funding as needed to make sure HBCUs can spend the same amount per student as other colleges."
"My plan will address the historical injustices in American education and ensure that opportunities are fairly available to everyone."
— Elizabeth Warren wrote

The big picture: When Warren publicly announced her exploratory committee at the end of December 2018, she acknowledged the effects of racism within the U.S., saying "families of color" face challenges "made even harder by the impact of generations of discrimination," per NPR.

Several 2020 candidates have already worked to win over African-American voters in their path to the party's nomination. In late April, a number of HBCU students at the inaugural She the People forum said they wanted to see Democrats address the issues they most care about, reports USA Today, indicating they were looking to align with a candidate who covered minimum wage, criminal justice, and pushed for more money to help struggling HBCUs.

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren on the issues in under 500 words

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