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The State of Minority NC

Presentation from the National Institute of Minority Economic Development Executive Networking Conference 2022

Once a state with a clear racial binary (white/black), North Carolina continues to become more diverse as a result of natural increase (births) in minority populations, in-migration from other parts of the United States, and International migration of refugees and immigrants settling in NC. These demographic changes have great implications for housing equity, access to healthcare, educational opportunity, and economic development for North Carolina’s diverse minority communities.

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The need for Universal Pre-K and Expanded Childcare Options 

There are clear benefits to pre-kindergarten programming. There is evidence that children experience lasting benefits from the development of non-finite executive functioning skills like linguistic dexterity, reading comprehension, and critical thinking as well as socioemotional skills like self-control and confidence early in life. The lasting benefits of the development of cognitive and socioemotional skills in preschool create ripple effects throughout a child’s life, particularly those from low-income families, resulting in higher educational achievement and positive outcomes in employment, crime, and health. Attendance in high-quality preschool increases children’s readiness for school, narrowing the skills gap between lower-income children and their higher-income peers.

Figure 1 – What do you think should be done to improve childcare?

Constituents of the National Institute of Minority Economic Development, including small business owners and minority workers across the state, were polled recently about their needs for childcare. Affordability was the major issue for both white and non-white respondents with 61% of respondents overall saying childcare was not affordable. White respondents paid on average $995 or more monthly while non-white respondents paid $455. Factoring differences in reported income, we see that both groups are paying about 10-11% of monthly income on childcare. Non-white respondents were less likely to use licensed childcare centers or church-based preschools and were more likely to use in-home babysitters, relatives or friends, NC Pre-K program, or Head Start programs. White respondents were more likely to be influenced by location, licensing, curriculum, and recommendations from family or friends. Non-white respondents were more likely to be influenced by affordability and whether meals were included. Minority households were more impacted by childcare needs with two-thirds (64%) reporting they or their spouses had to cut back on work because of childcare (as compared to only 18% of white respondents). Three-quarters of respondents (74%) felt that expanding the childcare subsidy and two-thirds (65%) felt that providing universal pre-k would improve the availability, quality, and affordability of childcare. 

Poll of Parent Experiences with Preschool and Childcare
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In the News July 20 – August 3, 2022

Housing Equity:

  1. Treasury Announces New Steps to Increase Affordable Housing Supply and Lower Long-Term Housing Costs for American Families: The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced new guidance to increase the ability of state, local, and tribal governments to use American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to boost the supply of affordable housing in their communities.
  2. Raleigh first time home buyers priced out despite financial assistance programs: Raleigh’s Homebuyers Assistance Program would typically assist about 50 to 60 people a year before the pandemic and housing boom. So far in 2022, only five people were able to close on their homes with assistance through the program.
  3. Evictions begin to creep back up in parts of central North Carolina: As federal pandemic relief money runs out, evictions across North Carolina are again beginning to increase. While eviction rates are currently lower across a majority of the counties, some counties historically report almost double the rates elsewhere in the state.
  4. Greensboro voters approve $135 million in bond measures: $30 million in housing bonds will go toward affordable housing, making homeownership easier, and making some neighborhoods more attractive to buyers.
  5. Houses were once plentiful across the U.S. Now half of cities don’t have enough homes: More than half of the nation’s metropolitan regions had an undersupply of homes in 2019, a sharp increase from one-third of cities in the 2012. The nation is short 3.8 million homes to meet its housing needs.

Health Equity:

  1. NC Legislature Idles for Now on Medicaid Expansion Agreement: General Assembly leaders acknowledged on Tuesday that a compromise for North Carolina to finally embrace Medicaid expansion likely won’t come quickly and pinned success for a near-future agreement in part on buy-in from a key health care interest group.
  2. NC overdose deaths increased more than the national average in 2020: Drug overdose deaths surged by 30% nationally and 40% in North Carolina during the first year of the pandemic. Across the country, Black and Native American communities saw higher rates of overdose deaths and those disparities are worsening.
  3. Uterine cancer cases rising, outcomes worsening especially for Black women: Researchers at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center are investigating the why Black women die of uterine cancer at twice the rate of white women and are looking at factors of tumor biology, access to care, lifestyle, and behavior to improve outcomes and close the racial disparity gap.
  4. Vanderbilt, UNC and Duke Nurse-Midwives Join Forces to Reduce Black Maternal Health Risks: Nurse-midwives and educators from three prominent research universities form the Alliance of Black Doulas for Black Mamas to improve pregnancy outcomes in Black communities by providing specialized training for doulas.
  5. NC Health Center Aims to Reduce Mental-Health Stigma Among Latinos: Camino Health Center is spreading the word about Spanish-speaking therapists and counselors available to residents in the Charlotte area, addressing the stigma and lack of Spanish language resources in the community.

Economic Development:

  1. Biden-⁠Harris Administration Advances Equity And Economic Opportunity Through Federal Procurement And State And Local Infrastructure Contracting: Administration Announces Record Contract Spending on Small Disadvantaged Businesses and New Steps to Create Contracting Opportunities for Disadvantaged Businesses through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
  2. U.S. Senate passes bipartisan bill to boost Cybersecurity Job Training at HBCUs: The Cybersecurity Opportunity Act requires that 50% of grant funds must go to HBCU’s, tribal, and minority serving institutions in order to support greater diversity and equality of opportunity in the cybersecurity field.
  3. Lenovo and Panthers partner to support NC small businesses: Lenovo and the Carolina Panthers have announced the return of the Empowering the Carolinas contest to celebrate and uplift small businesses – especially those that are women and minority-owned – across North America through grant and product donations, mentorship, and community engagement activities.
  4. US sees union boom despite big companies’ aggressive opposition: Wins for Amazon and Starbucks workers shows labor movement surging after years of decline – but pushback has been fierce, and has come amid allegations of union-busting.
  5. UNC Charlotte alum paving the way for diverse developers: Jane Wu, founder of Panorama Holdings LLC, has donated $50,000 to UNC Charlotte to fund a scholarship for students from under represented backgrounds studying commercial real estate.

Educational Equity:

  1. NC legislative proposal would dramatically overhaul how North Carolina governs its public schools: GOP sponsors push for an elected state school board, but Democrats warn against further politicizing public education.
  2. 144 organizations sign onto brief asking Supreme Court to order compliance with school funding plan: Attorneys filed an amicus with the North Carolina Supreme Court this week in the long-running Leandro school funding lawsuit contending the state has consistently failed to provide every child in North Carolina with access to the educational opportunities to which they are constitutionally entitled under the previous ruling.
  3. New report delves into state of early childhood education in Western NC: Early childhood education opportunities and challenges across the state’s 18 westernmost counties have decreased since 2019 and put a cost burden on families, leaving many to enroll in lower-quality programs.
  4. Half of NC’s community colleges not within walkable transit: In North Carolina, more than 500,000 people attend community colleges annually. Without consistent and easily accessible transit options students that lack access to a car could be discouraged from seeking higher education — a significant driver of economic mobility in the state.
  5. NCAE opposes plan to pay NC teachers based on performance instead of their experience: A state commission is working on a new licensure and compensation model that would pay teachers based on their ratings on student test scores.
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In the News 7.20.2022

Housing Equity:

  1. New Policy Protects People with Vouchers Seeking City-Supported Housing: The Charlotte City Council on Monday voted to adopt a new city policy that protects prospective tenants in City of Charlotte-supported housing developments from being disqualified from renting a unit because they participate in a rental subsidy program.
  2. Residents urge High Point city council members to rethink vote against fair housing: Residents in the city of High Point are urging city council members to rethink their vote against becoming a fair housing assistance program in May which would provide freedom from housing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or ability.
  3. Congress Finds Private Equity Kept Buying Homes, Hiking Fees Over Pandemic: A survey by the house financial services committee found private equity homeownership has been growing in low-income neighborhoods where companies have increased tenants fees 40% between 2018 and 2022.
  4. HUD Announces 24 Programs to Join Biden-Harris Administration Justice40 Initiative: The programs included in today’s announcement create affordable and sustainable housing and meet a range of different housing needs for individuals and communities, including single- and multi-family housing and housing for seniors, persons with disabilities, and tribal communities.
  5. New NC funding will help expand affordable housing for those with specific needs: The North Carolina State Housing Finance Agency has approved $4.3 million in funding for properties geared toward those with special housing needs, including military veterans, children aging out of foster care, and people with disabilities who fall below 50 percent of the area median income.
  6. Housing Connections Initiative working to combat affordable home crisis: The North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness has helped house more than 2,300 people by providing financial incentives and assistance to landlords willing to work with households coming out of homelessness.

Health Equity:

  1. How healthy are NC’s women, and are their needs ready to be met?: The women’s health report card from the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Women’s Health Research spotlights promising trends in preventative health and adverse trends in perinatal and chronic health. Notable racial disparities in the data suggest differences in access to health care services and screenings.
  2. UNC, N.C. A&T Team to Lead Project to Address Social Determinants of Health in Women of Color: As part of the American Heart Association’s pledge to address social determinants of health in women of color, Alison Stuebe, MD, and her team of researchers received a $2.4-million grant to develop a curriculum that cultivates trust among patients and health team members.
  3. Biden Signs Executive Order on Access to Abortion Services: Executive order directs federal agencies to take steps within their power to safeguard abortions and reproductive health services, including ensuring the availability of emergency contraceptive medications and providing legal protection for out-of-state patients and abortion providers.
  4. Blue Cross NC taps Headway to expand mental health access for underserved members and children: In its latest effort to address critical mental health needs in the state, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is tapping a fast-growing mental health startup to help expand its network of behavioral health providers to underserved communities including children from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.
  5. Medicaid expansion would help people incarcerated in jails and prisons: Thousands of people currently cycling in and out of jails and prisons are among the roughly 600,000 who would get health coverage under Medicaid expansion, potentially transforming North Carolina’s justice system.
  6. NCDHHS Announces New National 9-8-8 Number for People in Mental Health Crisis: Starting Saturday, people in mental health crisis can dial 9-8-8 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and get immediately connected to trained crisis counselors 24/7.

Economic Development:

  1. Can people live on minimum wage in NC? Here’s how it compares to cost of living: With inflation affecting the cost of everything from food to gas, it’s getting harder for minimum wage employees to afford necessities. While the minimum wage in North Carolina is $7.25, the living wage for a single adult with no children in the state is $17.14. For single adult with one child, the living wage is nearly double.
  2. Climate Change, Extreme Temps Affect NC Black-Owned Small Businesses: In North Carolina, small Black-owned businesses say they’re struggling to cope with losses and damages from extreme weather events including floods, extreme heat, blackouts or severe storms.
  3. Equal Pay Gains Dampened as Wage Gaps Widen for Women of Color: Some incremental progress has been made in the effort to bring equal pay to women in the workplace, but data indicate women of color still face certain inequities exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, widening their respective wage gaps from last year.
  4. Interest rates, price increases stand to have outsized effect on Black consumers, businesses: Black Americans — who already make less money, have a harder time securing loans for their businesses and have less financial security — stand to be hurt more than other demographic groups in this uncertain economy.
  5. CNBC Names North Carolina as America’s Top State for Business in 2022: North Carolina ranked highly in developing and training a strong workforce due to the Longleaf Commitment Community College Grants Program and the North Carolina Child Care Stabilization Grants and supported businesses through the pandemic with the Business Recovery Grant Program and ReTool NC Program for women- and minority-owned businesses.
  6. Truist announces $120 million commitment to strengthening small businesses: The commitment includes $30 million in philanthropic grants to support nonprofits who assist small businesses and diverse entrepreneurs and $5 million in philanthropic grants, which will support technical assistance, small businesses and volunteerism.

Educational Equity:

  1. Budget bill sent to Cooper puts NC’s controversial school voucher program on path to dramatic expansion: If the bill becomes law, funding for the underutilized voucher program would grow from $120.54 million to $176.54 million for the 2023-2024 school year, while traditional public schools are grappling with funding challenges and staffing shortfalls.
  2. U.S. Department of Education Awards Final $198 Million of American Rescue Plan Higher Education Funds to Support Students at Community Colleges, Rural, and Minority-Serving Institutions: Of the funds awarded, almost 90 percent will go toward Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), community colleges, rural institutions, and institutions serving large populations of low-income students. The majority of institutions are also required to distribute roughly half of all grant funds directly to students with the greatest need.
  3. Education advocate joins task force to increase teacher diversity: Monique Perry-Graves, the executive director for Teach for America North Carolina, recently joined the State’s DRIVE Task Force to recruit teachers of racially, ethnically and linguistically diverse backgrounds to prioritize equity and inclusion in the educational system in North Carolina.
  4. N.C. A&T Works with Guilford County Schools to Build Community Education Center: The facility will be used to address the negative impact of COVID-19 on the district’s students, families, staff and community by providing flex spaces with tutoring, adult education and community meeting rooms for students and adults.
  5. U.S. Department of Education Announces Engage Every Student Initiative to Ensure Every Student Has Access to High-Quality Learning: The Initiative will help communities utilize American Rescue Plan funds alongside other state and local funds to allow more students to access more programs year-round to support their academic and mental health needs.
  6. NCDHHS Launches Raise NC to Highlight the Value of the State’s Early Care and Learning Network: The public education campaign highlights the value of the state’s early care and learning network to support children’s healthy development as well as families’ participation in the workforce.
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Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Poll

The Biden Administration has proposed to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt. The current proposal is that student loan forgiveness will be available to individual borrowers who earn up to $150,000 in annual income, or married couples who file jointly and earn up to $300,000.

The Research, Policy, & Impact Center polled constituents to better understand how student loan forgiveness would impact them. Minority borrowers would see greater relief as their debt-to-income ratio is higher than white borrowers. See results to the poll in the infographic below.

Comments from Respondents:

  • All Americans should have access to a quality education that’s free. Educated working people help to build a strong community. It can help with reducing crime. An educated country is a successful one.
  • Anyone working in a public service for over 5 years should be forgiven regardless how many payment made
  • Anything that they take off would be appreciated
  • As a single mother, going back to school was imperative. The government should develop other low cost programs to assist people with obtaining their education.
  • As with universal healthcare and gun control, this country seems resolute to not learn anything from the best practices of others in the area of affordable higher education. It makes no sense in an advanced economy to make k-12 education free and then do nothing for higher education despite the fact that a college degree is a necessity for many jobs and that many of those jobs are a necessity for the quality of life in our country.
  • College should be free.
  • Education loans are easy to get but cause hardship to repay due to low wages.
  • Erase all debt for student loan borrowers
  • Every African American should have all student loans forgiven and no future African American should have to pay for college ever as part of reparations for the continued negative impact of slavery, school to prison pipeline, housing disparities and inequities we experience.
  • Forgiving student loan debt would alleviate a tremendous burden on a significant number of US citizens, especially those earning low-wages and those in the shrinking middle class. The additional money available to families will boost the economy by creating greater spending power. Moreover, student loan forgiveness would remove negative items on thousands of credit reports, which would allow families to qualify for better housing and employment. Additionally, forgiving student loans would be a positive step in restoring the middle class. Last, but not least, forgiving student loans for African American and indigenous/first nations people could qualify as a concrete step toward reparations for the crimes of genocide, enslavement, oppression, and exploitation by the US government and other white agencies/companies.
  • I am a strong supporter of forgiveness of at least a portion of a student’s loan.
  • I appreciate and could use loan forgiveness. Would make a major difference in my life.
  • I do not think fees for a college degree should exceed what the workforce can pay to the average American. The monthly payments exceed the amount the average person can actually pay back and have us living in a state of lower actual wages where can barely afford to live comfortably.
  • I do not think there should be loan forgiveness – tuition should be restructured
  • I feel the income limit of $150,000 is fair. I also believe that every year of military service should be counted as 2 years towards forgiveness of student loans for public service. People in the military sacrifice so much more than most civilians to ensure this country’s freedoms.
  • I grew up poor and my education (Duke undergraduate) changed the course of my future. I do well now, at the age of thirty six, but my loans have been an extraordinary burden and have caused me to make some really tough choices about my career and life that I wish weren’t necessary, and which many of my friends didn’t face. I hear discussion of people with high incomes or “privileged” degrees as being less deserving of sympathy, but I remember eating lentils five days a week for a couple years trying to figure out how to pay these loans right out of school, and therefore strongly support relief!
  • I started out with around $30 to 40K… now I owe $61,000 and the payments are over $400/mo for 30 years. It is the only thing pulling my score down every month even though I am paying other bills on time. I am currently paying the interest every month until I can afford to pay it off.
  • I think student loan forgiveness is essential for most, if not all, borrowers. Having large student loan debt prevents me and others from participating in the market like other generations. At this time, with my loans, I don’t see myself having the same milestones like my parents. Student loan forgiveness of any kind would mean that I can have a brighter outlook on my future.
  • I think student loan forgiveness should consider current income, whether or not you have a public service related occupation and debit related to highest level of education.
  • I think that teachers should have all their debt forgiven.
  • I think this is important as we see so many schools offering free tuition and other subsidies that weren’t available in the past. As a Black person I feel all student debt being forgiven should be part of a reparation package
  • I was lied to by my schools as to how much I could make. I never did get a high enough paying job to support myself or my kids as a single mom.
  • In addition to loan forgiveness amount the Biden administration should halt interest accrual to allow folks to repay this debt.
  • It cripples individuals and couples before they can even get started in their careers and future planning and affects minorities and first generation college students disproportionately.
  • It shouldn’t take longer than 10 years for anyone to pay off student loans. They should be treated with the same stipulations as car loans. We are paying decades worth of interest and that is not right.
  • It’s shameful that in such a rich country, people have to go into deep debt to get an education.
  • Please do something, anything. So many of us are stressed and anxious just thinking about repayment. Cost of living is high enough as it is.
  • School should be free, the amount of student debt is ridiculous.
  • Something really has to change about the way state universities are funded. Student loan debt is linked to that issue, and so are low stipends/pay for grad workers and the increasing reliance on adjuncts/non-tenure track faculty who rely on semester-long contracts. Debt exacerbates worker’s vulnerability and it has to stop.
  • Student loan forgiveness is necessary to help stimulate the US economy.
  • Student loan forgiveness would actually better our economy. We have an entire generation that overpaid for a bachelor’s degree with the promise that one day we would make enough money to pay off these debts. However, the majority of us have not lived in a time where there were never jobs available that would pay enough to pay off, or even make the monthly payments to our student loan. Therefore, my generation decided our only option was to go to graduate school, which means taking out additional student loans. However, now we have an entire generation that is over educated, and there are not enough jobs offering the salary that use to be available for an individual with graduate level degree education. The job market has responded by now making the requirements for entry level jobs more difficult, while never raising the salary.
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RPIC Policy Agenda – Improve Educational Attainment and Outcomes

While educational attainment has risen significantly in the last two decades, we continue to see a huge disparity in post-secondary education by race and ethnicity. White 25- to 29-year-olds are 55% more likely than Black counterparts to have completed a bachelor’s degrees or higher.[i] And Black high school students are 13 percent less likely to graduate than their white peers.[ii] One of the most robust predictors of a child’s academic success and earning power is whether they can read by third grade.[iii] In North Carolina two out of five children do not read at grade level at the end of third grade. There are clear racial disparities with 41% of Black third graders reading at grade level compared to 70% of white children.[iv]

According to education researchers, Barbara Bowman, James Comer, and David Johns (2018), “The interface between racism/classism and attendant economic and social disadvantages is the key to understanding the underachievement of African American children. African Americans have been exposed to generations of legal and illegal measures to deny them basic rights.”[v] Resource equity is an underlying issue: “school districts attended predominantly by students of color receive $23 billion less in funding than primarily white districts, despite serving the same number of students. And school districts that are poor and white receive about $150 less per student than the national average. In contrast, school districts that are poor and attended primarily by students of color receive $1,600 less.”[vi] In a recent study, Is School Funding Fair, researchers at the Education Law Center compared state funding of schools across all 50 states finding that most states provide disproportionately more economic resources to affluent schools than to those in high poverty areas.[vii]

Several other factors are related to the lack of progress in achieving parity in educational attainment and standardized scores. For poor urban youth, there is evidence that disengagement in school is a major cause of absenteeism and low graduation rates.[viii] Also, there is data to support the claim that “a growing disparity in teacher quality across the social divide may have offset the impacts of policies designed to work in the opposite direction.”[ix] Finally, confounding the issue is the fact that parental education strongest predictor of student achievement.[x]

It has been argued that high quality universal pre-K could “significantly reduce the financial burden facing families with young children and help ensure that children are prepared for kindergarten.”[xi] Early education and school readiness have been proven to be effective in helping to close the achievement gap by preparing children for educational success.[xii] It also helps with reducing poverty in households with children by reducing the cost-burden of families due to childcare expenses. Childcare in North Carolina is prohibitively expensive, according to the Care Index[xiii] in-home care in NC averages $27,251/yr and in-center care averages $8,643/yr. As a result of COVID19 closures of childcare facilities and schools, we see even further disparities in achievement on standardized testing scores and greater need for intervention around this topic.

Download the printable Research, Policy, and Impact Agenda Part 4 Improve Educational Attainment and Outcomes

Solution #1: Support universal high-quality childcare and pre-K programs

Reform(s) Needed:

  1. Expand funding to Head Start and Early Head Start Programs.
  2. Expanding the availability of childcare subsidy assistance.
  3. Reestablish Advance Child Tax Credit Payments to LMI families.

Solution #2: Increase school quality in LMI communities

Reform(s) Needed:

  1. Changing state school funding formulas to increase funding to underserved communities.
  2. Support, train, and pay teachers like other professionals.
  3. Fund school infrastructure in LMI communities.
  4. Expand teacher training and education loan forgiveness programs.
  5. Providing funding and scholarships for teaching degree programs that have a proven track record of attracting and graduating minority teachers.

Solution #3: Expand degree attainment, credentialing, and training opportunities minority students

Reform(s) Needed:

  1. Combat school absenteeism and disengagement.
  2. Promote project- and problem-based learning opportunities.
  3. Expand support for paid externships and ‘on-the-job’ training programs linked to industry.
  4. Provide debt-free higher education and community college programs.
  5. Support student loan debt forgiveness for LMI populations.
  6. Reinstate NC income tax deductions for contributions to NC 529 accounts.

[i] Hanson, Melanie. (2021). “Education Attainment Statistics” EducationData.org. https://educationdata.org/education-attainment-statistics

[ii] Stemm-Calderon, Zoë. (2019) Why Education Reform Must Prioritize Resource Equity Raikes Foundation. https://raikesfoundation.org/blog/posts/why-education-reform-must-prioritize-resource-equity

[iii] Fiester, Leila. (2010). Early Warning! Why Reading by the End of Third Grade Matters. Annie E. Casey Foundation. https://www.aecf.org/resources/early-warning-why-reading-by-the-end-of-third-grade-matters

[iv] NC Child 2021 County Data Cards.https://ncchild.org/what-we-do/insights/data/2021county-data-cards/

[v] Bowman, B. T., Comer, J. P., & Johns, D. J. (2018). “Addressing the African American Achievement Gap: Three Leading Educators Issue a Call to Action.” Young Children. 73(2), 14–23. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26558913

[vi] Stemm-Calderon, Zoë. (2019)

[vii] Baker, B., Farrie, D., Sciarra, D. (2018). Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card Education Law Center https://edlawcenter.org/assets/files/pdfs/publications/Is_School_Funding_Fair_7th_Editi.pdf

[viii] Mac Iver, D. (2019). Five Successful Reforms to Combat Students’ Absenteeism and Disengagement. John Hopkins School of Education. https://education.jhu.edu/2019/06/five-successful-reforms-to-combat-students-absenteeism-and-disengagement/

[ix] Hanushek, E.A., Peterson, P.E., Talpey, L.M., and Woessmann, L. (2019). “The Achievement Gap Fails to Close: Half century of testing shows persistent divide between haves and have-nots.” Education Next. 19(3), 8-17.

[x] Hanushek, E.A., Peterson, P.E., Talpey, L.M., and Woessmann, L. (2019).

[xi] Lieberman, A. (2022). “Policy Recommendations: Universal Pre-K.” New America. https://www.newamerica.org/in-depth/care-report/policy-recommendations-universal-pre-k/

[xii] First Five Years Fund. (2022). “Why It Matters: School Readiness.” https://www.ffyf.org/why-it-matters/school-readiness/

[xiii] See https://www.care.com/care-index

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Win for Historically Black Colleges and Universities

North Carolina House Representative Alma Adams has won an important victory for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by incorporating her bill, the HBCU Capital Finance Debt Relief Act, in the 2021 Omnibus Spending Act which was signed into law on December 27th 2021. Representative Adams chairs the bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus, which she co-founded in 2015. Her legislation will discharge $1.34 billion in loans to HBCU’s across the country accrued under the HBCU Capital Loan Financing Program. The relief will be a boon for HBCUs which have historically been underfunded.

To give an idea of how much this bill will help, the total endowments for all of the United States HBCUs is $2.1 billion, by comparison UNC Chapel Hill has the 29th largest endowment for colleges and Universities in the United States of 3.7 billion. The relief represents over half of HBCUs’ total endowments and will help alleviate some of the disparities between HBCUs and comparable Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). According to a 2018 study by the Government Accountability Office HBCUs have a median endowment of $15,000 per student compared with matched non-HBCU schools that had a median endowment of $410,000 per student.

HBCUs help drive the economic development of the United States. According to a study by UNCF HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually.  Investment in HBCUs provides an excellent return on investment in which for each dollar of initial spending generates $1.44 dollars in subsequent spending for the regional economies in which they reside. Since HBCUs are often located in economically struggling regions, the health and wealth these institutions provide are often essential to the economic wellbeing of the locations they reside in.   Representative Adam’s bill also expands Pell grant eligibility, which will help all college students but particularly those that attend HBCUs. Over 75% of HBCU undergraduate students rely on Pell grants to pay for college expenses, compared to 39.1 of all US undergraduate students who use Pell grants to fund their education. Representative Adam’s bill expands the number of people eligible to receive aid and increases the maximum grant amount. The bill will help HBCUs and their students to continue to help grow and expand the economies in their surrounding communities.