TRENTON, NJ – Saying that the measure addresses inequities in funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by increasing federal funding for them, Paterson’s representatives in the New Jersey General Assembly, Benjie Wimberly and Shavonda Sumter, have urged both houses of Congress, as well as President Trump, to support The Land-Grant Opportunity Act, sponsored by Congresswoman Corrine Brown of Florida and introduced in the US House of Representatives in 2015. 

AR43, according to a joint statement issued by Sumter and Wimberly, along with three of their Assembly colleagues, was passed by the Assembly Higher Education Committee on Monday.

“It’s time HBCUs, which have long helped African-Americans achieve their dreams and goals, including myself, get the federal funding they deserve,” said Wimberly (D-Bergen/Passaic), who attended Virginia State University, an 1890 land-grant institution.
Land grant institutions are those that were created through the granting of federal land to states to create colleges, specifically to focus on the provision of higher education in fields that became more important following the industrial resolution. In 1890, nearly 30 years after the original legislation, a second bill was passed aimed at the former Confederate states which allowed them to create institutions for black students, and have now become known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

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These HBCUs, the statement reads, have historically received significantly less federal funds, sometimes less than half, of the land grant institutions created by the original bill.

Calling it the responsibility of leaders of the present to continue to fight for funding equity for higher education institutions Sumter said that “equal access to higher education is how all of our young people can achieve greatness.”