I have signed groundbreaking legislation to support America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and to simplify the Federal financial aid application for millions of American families. President Obama and the Obama Administration were unable to get this done. I got it done.
I wish to thank the leaders who helped pass this legislation: Secretary Betsy DeVos and Secretary Steven Mnuchin, along with Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Tim Scott, House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, Representative Virginia Foxx, and Representative Mark Walker. Thanks also to United Negro College Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Lomax, Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and Chief Executive Officer Harry Williams, and National Association for Equal Opportunity President and Chief Executive Officer Lezli Baskerville.
When I took office, I promised to fight for HBCUs, and my Administration continues to deliver. A few months ago, funding for HBCUs was in jeopardy. But the White House and Congress came together and reached a historic agreement. For the first time ever, I signed legislation to permanently fund HBCUs and other institutions that primarily serve first-generation and minority students. This action guarantees more than $2.5 billion over the next 10 years, including $850 million specifically for HBCUs.
Today’s achievement continues my unprecedented commitment to HBCUs. During my first weeks in office, I moved the HBCU initiative, led by Johnathan Holifield, to the White House and worked with Congress to increase funding for HBCUs by more than $100 million. HBCUs have never had better champions in the White House.
The bill I signed today also reforms the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. The Internal Revenue Service will now seamlessly transfer applicants’ records to the Department of Education, so that families can use a simpler, shorter application for financial aid and those with student loans do not have to complete a cumbersome income certification process year after year. This is a transformative change that has been talked about in Washington for more than a decade, but everyone always said it could not be done. We got it done.
My Administration will continue to fight for HBCUs and Minority Serving Institutions, as well as the millions of students and hundreds of communities they serve. These wonderful institutions are essential to Keep America Great.