Tuesday, July 17, 2001

Black colleges to make case for aid

By James Hannah
The Associated Press

        WILBERFORCE, Ohio — Historically black colleges and universities need more federal money to meet their challenges, which include the need to offer remedial courses and to teach life skills, four college presidents told a congressional panel Monday.

        “These funds are extremely critical for the continued survival of our institution,” said John Henderson, president of Wilberforce University.

        The educators testified in the second of three field hearings held by the House Education subcommittee on select education. About 300 people attended the hearing at Mr. Henderson's school, 15 miles east of Dayton.

        The subcommittee is trying to determine how best to distribute federal education money and make sure the funding meets the needs of students at historically black schools, said the chairman, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Michigan. He said the Bush administration has proposed a 6.4 percent increase in fiscal 2002.

        “I hope there's more money coming,” said Benette DeCoux, 58, a Central State University graduate from Dayton who was in the audience.

        “The fact that they're here asking questions and touring, they see they're not fly-by- night institutions and there are a lot of citizens who care.”

        John Garland, president of Central State, also located in Wilberforce, said historically black schools create an environment for students that gives them confidence of success in the world.

        But he said some Central State students arrive unprepared for college because they come from underfunded, big-city elementary and secondary schools.

        “We have met the needs that were often neglected in the K through 12 years,” Mr. Garland said. “Unlike other institutions, we add significant value.”

        W. Clinton Pettus, president of Cheyney University in Cheyney, Pa., said historically black schools often must commit more resources than other schools do for remedial courses.

        “We get students who are innately bright, but have been improperly educated,” added Marjorie Harris, president of the Lewis College of Business in Detroit. “This costs money and extra time. We need more money to do what we have to do.”

        She said many students come from dysfunctional educational and social systems and that the schools must provide life- management skills as well as academic ones.


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- Black colleges to make case for aid
Kentucky Digest