On Oct. 6, 2023, the Richmond Times Dispatch published an article co-written by McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor Jim W. Dyke calling for increased funding for historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Dyke, a former Virginia secretary of education, serves on the boards of directors for Norfolk State University, an HBCU, and Marymount University, a Hispanic-serving institution. He noted that, despite facing historic funding challenges, HBCUs “have produced a disproportionate number of Black graduates” and “almost single-handedly created the Black middle class.”
In the article, Dyke wrote that U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack released recent letters urging governors to address longstanding disparity in funding distributions that have negatively impacted HBCU land-grant institutions, compared to predominately white institutions (PWI).
“As a result of segregation policies in Virginia and other states, HBCUs were created to educate Black students,” Dyke wrote. “It is no surprise that this dual system of education further exacerbated disparities between PWIs and HBCUs, as state government provided significant tax dollars to PWIs while ignoring or consistently underfunding HBCUs.”
He added: “A related irony, but less-publicized consequence of the underfunding disparity, was that HBCUs did not have the option of offsetting less state funding with endowments that were available to PWIs. The impact of educational segregation, when combined with race-based bias in housing and economic development, deprived the Black community of the generational wealth needed to endow HBCUs.”
Dyke noted that Virginia has taken action to become the best state in the nation for business. Increasing funding for HBCUs will help improve the commonwealth’s talent pipeline and right some historical wrongs.