Tenn. commission to recommend how to right underfunding at state HBCU

by Jeremy

Dive Brief:

  • Tennessee’s higher education commission is expected to draft a report by September describing the amount of funding needed to bring the facilities of Tennessee State University, an HBCU, up to par with other public colleges in the state.
  • In April, a legislative analysis found the state may have failed to match federal grants to the university for decades, leading to missing funding that totals between $150 million and $544 million.
  • Last week, a bipartisan legislative committee charged the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to work with Tennessee State University’s administration and the state government’s finance department to make its recommendations.

Dive Brief:

Tennessee State is one of the state’s two land-grant institutions, along with the University of Tennessee. The designation requires Tennessee to match certain federal funds given to the schools.


A recent audit revealed that the state hadn’t been making such payments to Tennessee State for decades. However, the state maintained gains to the University of Tennessee, a predominantly White institution.

Underfunding has prevented the HBCU from launching new programs and led to some students leaving, the college’s president, Glenda Glover, said in a statement in April.

During a legislative committee meeting last week, one state lawmaker resisted the idea that the university should receive the most significant amount laid out in the audit. And some legislators said the recommendations should focus on improving the university and proper funding levels going forward.

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