Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed a measure to settle a 15-year-old federal lawsuit relating to underfunding at the state's four historically Black colleges and universities for $577 million over a decade, the governor's spokesman said Wednesday.
VIC CARTER: Over half a billion dollars is now being set to be sent to historically Black colleges and universities in Maryland. It comes after a long legal battle that challenged the state's treatment of the schools. The governor vetoed a similar bill last year, citing pandemic financial issues. WJZ is live. Stetson Miller tells us how it's going to help these universities. Stetson.
STETSON MILLER: Hey, Vic, yeah. This funding will fund scholarships, existing programs, faculty, and more at places like right here at Morgan State University. And it comes after a very long legal battle.
Maryland's historically Black colleges and universities are now set to receive more equitable funding after Governor Hogan signed legislation on Wednesday to give the schools an additional $577 million. It comes after a 15-year-long legal battle.
DAVID KWABENA WILSON: We have taken the first step to right historic inequities in higher education in our state.
STETSON MILLER: It started back in 2006, when a group of Morgan State University alumni challenged the state's treatment of HBCUs, and said they underfunded the schools while developing programs at primarily white colleges that compete with and drain students away from them. After a federal judge found that Maryland had inappropriately maintained a dual and segregated education system that violated the Constitution, he ordered mediation. But it took years, until the bill's signing on Wednesday.
- The legislature passed it unanimously. So it was a great cooperation between us and Republicans and Democrats.
STETSON MILLER: The funding will be used for financial aid, faculty recruitment, and to support existing programs.
- We just aren't offered the same resources sometimes, so we have to work 10 times harder.
STETSON MILLER: Students say they were glad to hear about the funding, but wish it happened sooner.
- It was long overdue for this, honestly.
- I was definitely in all, because it took so long.
STETSON MILLER: But now, they're looking forward to seeing how their schools can continue to grow and be enhanced with the signing of this legislation.
- Bringing this funding to the school would help us, as students, just make us better.
STETSON MILLER: And that funding is said to be paid out over 10 years, starting in 2023. At Morgan State University, Stetson Miller for WJZ.