MARYLAND — Four Maryland HBCU’s will receive $555 million over the next decade to bolster their academic programs, financial aid offerings, and faculty recruitment.
U.S. District Court Judge Catherine C. Blake entered an order Wednesday finding that legislation passed by the Maryland General Assembly and the settlement agreement between the parties in The Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education Inc., et al. vs. Maryland Higher Education Commission, et al, cured the constitutional violation she had found in 2013.
Under the legislation and agreement, four Maryland HBCU’s (Morgan State University, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore) will receive $555 million over the next decade to bolster their academic programs, financial aid offerings, and faculty recruitment.
The additional funding will be used by the HBCUs to fund the expansion and improvement of existing academic programs, develop and implement new academic programs, assist with faculty development and recruitment, provide greater scholarships and financial aid, and strengthen academic support programs.
Maryland also is prohibited from using this funding as an excuse to limit, reduce, or otherwise negatively affect the HBCUs budget in the future.
The lawsuit argued that the state had fostered segregation and disadvantaged the HBCU's by limiting their role and mission and unnecessarily duplicating their distinctive programs at the state’s majority white higher education institutions.
The lawsuit argued that these practices allowed for a systematically perpetuated system of unequal higher education.
In March, the Maryland General Assembly passed an emergency appropriations bill that would provide the four HBCU’s $577 million in additional funding over the next 10 years.
The agreement stated that Plaintiffs’ attorneys' fees and costs would be deducted from $577 million, which the parties later agreed amounted to $22 million consistent with the General Assembly’s fiscal note.
But the release of the funds was contingent on the plaintiffs and the state of Maryland settling the case and the court finding that the Legislation and the settlement had cured the constitutional violation by June 1, 2021.
The last step is for the Maryland Attorney General to transmit the court order and settlement agreement to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services by June 11, 2021.