Budget conference: Before bump, House and Senate agree on $15M for 3 HBCUs
Edward Waters College is getting an upgrade to university.

edwards waters
Each private college will receive $5M in security grants.

Threats of violence against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) spiked over the last two years. Now lawmakers want to direct $15 million toward security at those schools.

The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and Senate Education Appropriations Committee both funded that amount specifically for HBCU security grants before bumping the budget to a higher level.

The budget calls for Bethune-Cookman University, Edward Waters University and Florida Memorial University to each receive $5 million.

Daytona-based Bethune-Cookman and Miami-based Florida Memorial in January 2022 both received a bomb threat that law enforcement investigated as part of a string of similar calls.

In total, seven HBCUs nationwide received threats, which authorities connected to a neo-Nazi group, according to The Daytona Beach News-Journal.

In February the same year, a similar threat shut down Edward Waters University in Jacksonville, the Florida Times-Union reported.

The security funding comes out of money set aside for private colleges in the budget, though Florida’s largest public HBCU has also experienced threats. In May last year, Florida A&M University received a bomb threat, according to Rattler Nation. The same week, similar institutions responded to threats in Washington and Texas.

When Gov. Ron DeSantis unveiled his own budget proposal, he recommended setting aside about $10 million for Florida’s four HBCUs, including FAMU. So the Legislature’s proposal provides about double the expected amount to each of the three private colleges.

The funding in the budget was agreed upon by budget negotiators in both the House and Senate as lawmakers aim to wrap up budget talks before the end of the Legislative Session next week.

A bump offer shows there are millions in projects and spending for private colleges where the House and Senate disagree.

That includes $2.5 million the Senate wants for cybersecurity education at Florida Tech and $2.5 million the House wants for medical training at the University of Miami.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


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