IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 24, 2007
Mr. Obama introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to authorize grant programs to enhance the access of low-income African-American students to higher education.
This Act may be cited as the
Predominantly Black Institution Act of
Predominantly Black Institutions
Part A of title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1057 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 317 the following:
Predominantly Black Institutions
Findings and Purpose
Congress finds that—
although African-Americans have made significant progress in closing the gap between African-American and White enrollment in higher education—
African-Americans continue to trail Whites in the percentage of the college-age cohort who enroll and graduate from college;
among recent secondary school graduates, the college participation rate of Whites was 46 percent from 2000 through 2002, while such rate for African-Americans was only 39 percent; and
the gap between White and African-American bachelor's degree attainment rates also remains high, continuing to exceed 10 percent;
a growing number of African-American students are participating in higher education and are enrolled at an increasing number of urban and rural Predominantly Black Institutions that have included in their mission the provision of academic training and education for both traditional and nontraditional minority students;
the overwhelming majority of students attending Predominantly Black Institutions come from low- and middle-income families and qualify for participation in the Federal student assistance programs or other need-based Federal programs as indicated by recent data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study which demonstrates that 47 percent of African-American undergraduates are Federal Pell Grant recipients, compared to 21 percent of non-Hispanic Whites;
many of the students who enroll in Predominantly Black Institutions are also first generation college students who often lack the appropriate academic preparation for success in college and whose parents lack the requisite knowledge and information regarding financing a college education;
there is a particular national need to aid institutions of higher education that have become Predominantly Black Institutions by virtue of the fact that the Predominantly Black Institutions have expanded opportunities for African-American and other minority students;
Predominantly Black Institutions fulfill a unique mission within American higher education, far beyond that which was initially envisioned;
Predominantly Black Institutions serve the cultural and social advancement of low-income, African-American and other minority students and are a significant access point for these students to higher education and the opportunities offered by American society;
the concentration of the students described in subparagraph (G) in a limited number of 2-year and 4-year Predominantly Black Institutions and the desire of these students to secure a degree to prepare these students for a successful career places special burdens on those institutions who attract, retain, and graduate these students; and
financial assistance to establish or strengthen the academic resources, physical plants, financial management, and endowments of the Predominantly Black Institutions are appropriate methods to enhance the educational quality of the Predominantly Black Institutions, to facilitate decreased long-term reliance on governmental financial support, and to encourage reliance on endowments and private sources.
It is the purpose of this section to assist Predominantly Black Institutions in expanding educational opportunity through a program of Federal assistance.
In this section:
Educational and general expenditures
The term educational and general expenditures has the meaning given the term in section 312.
The term eligible institution means an institution of higher education that—
has an enrollment of needy undergraduate students;
has an average educational and general expenditure which is low, per full-time equivalent undergraduate student in comparison with the average educational and general expenditure per full-time equivalent undergraduate student of institutions that offer similar instruction, except that the Secretary may apply the waiver requirements described in section 392(b) to this subparagraph in the same manner as the Secretary applies the waiver requirements to section 312(b)(1)(B);
has an enrollment of undergraduate students that is not less than 40 percent African-American students;
is legally authorized to provide, and provides within the State, an educational program for which the institution of higher education awards a baccalaureate degree, or in the case of a junior or community college, an associate’s degree; and
is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered, or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.
The term endowment fund has the meaning given the term in section 312.
Enrollment of needy students
The term enrollment of needy students means the enrollment at an eligible institution with respect to which not less than 50 percent of the undergraduate students enrolled in an academic program leading to a degree—
in the second fiscal year preceding the fiscal year for which the determination is made, were Federal Pell Grant recipients for such year;
come from families that receive benefits under a means-tested Federal benefit program;
attended a public or nonprofit private secondary school—
that is in the school district of a local educational agency that was eligible for assistance under part A of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 for any year during which the student attended such secondary school; and
which for the purpose of this paragraph and for that year was determined by the Secretary (pursuant to regulations and after consultation with the State educational agency of the State in which the school is located) to be a school in which the enrollment of children counted under section 1113(a)(5) of such Act exceeds 30 percent of the total enrollment of such school; or
are first generation college students and a majority of such first generation college students are low-income individuals.
First generation college student
The term first generation college student has the meaning given the term in section 402A(g).
Institution of higher education
The term institution of higher education has the meaning given the term in section 101(a).
The term low-income individual has the meaning given such term in section 402A(g).
Means-tested Federal benefit program
The term means-tested Federal benefit program means a program of the Federal Government, other than a program under title IV, in which eligibility for the program’s benefits, or the amount of such benefits, are determined on the basis of income or resources of the individual or family seeking the benefit.
Predominantly Black Institution
The term Predominantly Black Institution means an institution of higher education—
that is an eligible institution with not less than 1,000 undergraduate students;
at which not less than 50 percent of the undergraduate students enrolled at the eligible institution are low-income individuals or first generation college students; and
at which not less than 50 percent of the undergraduate students are enrolled in an educational program leading to a bachelor’s or associate’s degree that the eligible institution is licensed to award by the State in which the eligible institution is located.
The term State means each of the 50 States and the District of Columbia.
The Secretary is authorized to award grants, from allotments under subsection (e), to Predominantly Black Institutions to enable the Predominantly Black Institutions to carry out the authorized activities described in subsection (d).
In awarding grants under this section the Secretary shall give priority to Predominantly Black Institutions with large numbers or percentages of students described in subsections (b)(2)(A) or (b)(2)(C). The level of priority given to Predominantly Black Institutions with large numbers or percentages of students described in subsection (b)(2)(A) shall be twice the level of priority given to Predominantly Black Institutions with large numbers or percentages of students described in subsection (b)(2)(C).
Grant funds provided under this section shall be used—
to assist the Predominantly Black Institution to plan, develop, undertake, and implement programs to enhance the institution’s capacity to serve more low- and middle-income African-American students;
to expand higher education opportunities for students eligible to participate in programs under title IV by encouraging college preparation and student persistence in secondary school and postsecondary education; and
to strengthen the financial ability of the Predominantly Black Institution to serve the academic needs of the students described in subparagraphs (A) and (B).
Grant funds provided under this section shall be used for 1 or more of the following activities:
The activities described in paragraphs (1) through (11) of section 311(c).
Academic instruction in disciplines in which African-Americans are underrepresented.
Establishing or enhancing a program of teacher education designed to qualify students to teach in a public elementary school or secondary school in the State that shall include, as part of such program, preparation for teacher certification or licensure.
Establishing community outreach programs that will encourage elementary school and secondary school students to develop the academic skills and the interest to pursue postsecondary education.
Establishing or increasing an endowment fund in accordance with paragraph (3).
Other activities proposed in the application submitted pursuant to subsection (f) that—
contribute to carrying out the purpose of this section; and
are approved by the Secretary as part of the review and approval of an application submitted under subsection (f).
A Predominantly Black Institution may use not more than 20 percent of the grant funds provided under this section to establish or increase an endowment fund at the institution.
In order to be eligible to use grant funds in accordance with subparagraph (A), a Predominantly Black Institution shall provide matching funds from non-Federal sources, in an amount equal to or greater than the Federal funds used in accordance with subparagraph (A), for the establishment or increase of the endowment fund.
The provisions of part C of title III, regarding the establishment or increase of an endowment fund, that the Secretary determines are not inconsistent with this subsection, shall apply to funds used under subparagraph (A).
Not more than 50 percent of the grant funds provided to a Predominantly Black Institution under this section may be available for the purpose of constructing or maintaining a classroom, library, laboratory, or other instructional facility.
Allotments to Predominantly Black Institutions
Federal Pell Grant basis
From the amounts appropriated to carry out this section for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall allot to each Predominantly Black Institution having an application approved under subsection (f) a sum that bears the same ratio to one-half of that amount as the number of Federal Pell Grant recipients in attendance at such institution at the end of the academic year preceding the beginning of that fiscal year, bears to the total number of Federal Pell Grant recipients at all such institutions at the end of such academic year.
From the amounts appropriated to carry out this section for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall allot to each Predominantly Black Institution having an application approved under subsection (f) a sum that bears the same ratio to one-fourth of that amount as the number of graduates for such academic year at such institution, bears to the total number of graduates for such academic year at all such institutions.
Graduates seeking a higher degree basis
From the amounts appropriated to carry out this section for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall allot to each Predominantly Black Institution having an application approved under subsection (f) a sum that bears the same ratio to one-fourth of that amount as the percentage of graduates from such institution who are admitted to and in attendance at, not later than 2 years after graduation with an associate's degree or a baccalaureate degree, a baccalaureate degree-granting institution or a graduate or professional school in a degree program in disciplines in which African-American students are underrepresented, bears to the percentage of such graduates for all such institutions.
Notwithstanding paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), the amount allotted to each Predominantly Black Institution under this section shall not be less than $250,000.
If the amount appropriated pursuant to section 399(a)(1)(D) for a fiscal year is not sufficient to pay the minimum allotment provided under subparagraph (A) for the fiscal year, then the amount of such minimum allotment shall be ratably reduced. If additional sums become available for such fiscal year, such reduced allotment shall be increased on the same basis as the allotment was reduced until the amount allotted equals the minimum allotment required under subparagraph (A).
The amount of a Predominantly Black Institution’s allotment under paragraph (1), (2), (3), or (4) for any fiscal year that the Secretary determines will not be required for such institution for the period such allotment is available, shall be available for reallotment to other Predominantly Black Institutions in proportion to the original allotment to such other institutions under this section for such fiscal year. The Secretary shall reallot such amounts from time to time, on such date and during such period as the Secretary determines appropriate.
Each Predominantly Black Institution desiring a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing or accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require.
No Predominantly Black Institution that applies for and receives a grant under this section may apply for or receive funds under any other program under part A or part B of title III.
Duration and carryover
Any grant funds paid to a Predominantly Black Institution under this section that are not expended or used for the purposes for which the funds were paid within 10 years following the date on which the grant was awarded, shall be repaid to the Treasury.
Applicability of part F
Part F, other than section 399, shall not apply to this section.
Authorization of Appropriations
Section 399(a)(1) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1068h(a)(1)) is amended by adding at the end the following new subparagraph:
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out section 318 such sums as may be necessary for fiscal year 2008 and each of the 5 succeeding fiscal years.