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The clocktower of Howard University. Photo: Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The White House on Friday announced an executive order aimed at supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities to "advance equity in economic and educational opportunities for all Americans, including Black Americans," per the order.

The big picture: The order follows a commitment that President Biden made on the campaign trail to increase funding for HBCUs and make the first two years of college at such institutions free, among other things.

Driving the news: The order seeks to break down barriers for HBCUs to access federal funding, recommends fostering public-private partnerships to create academic research centers on HBCU campuses and urges increasing the availability of information on such institutions for prospective students.

  • Other functions of the order include working with elementary and secondary school providers to create a pipeline for students interested in attending HBCUs, addressing college affordability and creating a recognition program for high-achieving HBCU students.

What he's saying: "The federal government must promote a variety of modern solutions for HBCUs, recognizing that HBCUs are not a monolith, and that the opportunities and challenges relevant to HBCUs are as diverse as the institutions themselves and the communities they serve," Biden said.

  • "It is the policy of my administration to advance educational equity, excellence, and economic opportunity in partnership with HBCUs, and to ensure that these vital institutions of higher learning have the resources and support to continue to thrive for generations to come."

Go deeper: HBCUs' Identity Crisis

Go deeper

Students skip college

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As more and more employers nix college degrees as a hiring requirement, students are choosing cheaper, faster alternatives to college like coding boot camps.

Why it matters: The cost of college keeps climbing, and federal student loan debt sits at a whopping $1.6 trillion. Students are debating whether college is worth it — especially when it may no longer be necessary to get a high-paying job.

24 mins ago - World

Poland showdown is EU's Jan. 6 moment, top official says

Didier Reynders. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

Poland and Hungary have forced a moment of reflection on the European Union — similar to the one in the U.S. after the Jan. 6 insurrection, EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told Axios.

What he's saying: "During many years, we have had in our minds that it was granted that if you are a member of the EU, of course you apply the rule of law; you have full respect for democracy, fundamental rights and so on — maybe with some concerns but with a real intention to adapt your legislation to be in full compliance [with EU law]," Reynders said.

The E-commerce shopping spree

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Retailers have gotten really good at selling stuff online. So much so, investors want them to separate from the business units that do just that.

Why it matters: Spinning off these crown jewels may jeopardize both the physical and e-commerce sides of the companies in the long run by breaking the benefits of hybrid operations, analysts say.