​House unanimously approves Bradley Byrne bill supporting HCBU’s​

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Alabama’s 1st District U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne reached across the aisle to North Carolina’s 12th District Congressman Alma Adams and introduced the bipartisan H.R.5530: HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act last month. The bill will help improve infrastructure for our nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) by improving access to and oversight of an existing program that enables HBCUs to improve their campuses to better serve their students.

The bill quickly made it out of House Education and the Workforce Committee and made it to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives Monday, where by a unanimous voice vote it was approved.

“An important part of helping students succeed is making sure schools and institutions have what they need to serve them well. That’s exactly what H.R. 5530 will do,” said Rep. Byrne, a co-chair of the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus. “The bill reforms a program known as the HBCU Capital Financing Program. Congress created this program to provide Historically Black Colleges and Universities with low-cost capital they can use to make infrastructure improvements. It acts as a loan guarantee program so that these institutions can finance or refinance repairs, renovations, and construction on their campuses.”

According to the Republican Policy Committee, H.R. 5530 would improve access to and allow for financial counseling in the Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) Capital Financing Program by:

  • Requiring institutions to pay into a “bond insurance fund,” rather than a pooled escrow account as in current law, to better reflect the purpose of the withheld funds;
  • Authorizing the Secretary of Education to provide financial counseling to eligible institutions to prepare them to qualify, apply for, and maintain a capital improvement loan; and
  • Requiring the program’s Advisory Board to provide an annual report to Congress, giving an overview of all the loans awarded by the program, the status and financial condition of at least 10 institutions participating in the program, and any administrative and legislative recommendations they may have for improving the program. 

 

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