The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) is proud to support the IGNITE HBCU, TCU, and MSI Act H.R.8803, introduced by Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12). If passed, the legislation would establish a grant program through the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to support long-term improvements of campus facilities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Eligible uses for grants provided through the HBCU Act include the improvement of existing, or the establishment of new, instructional program spaces, laboratories, or research facilities relating to fields of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics), education, and other disciplines. Funds would also be eligible for the improvement of basic campus services (broadband, HVAC, etc.), and the strengthening of campus security. Priority for awarding grants will go to entities that demonstrate the greatest need to improve campus facilities, the most limited capacity to raise funds for campus improvement, and those that enroll the highest percentage who are eligible for Federal Pell Grants.
HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs are important institutions for the training and education of music educators of color. In Johnathan Hamiel’s (President, North Carolina Music Educators Association) article “HBCUs: The Hidden Gem in Music Education,” he speaks about the importance of HBCUs, writing, “In my personal experience, I feel that HBCUs are the hidden gems in the world of music and education. HBCUs instill many qualities and skills that will equip an aspiring music student with the tools needed to be successful as a music educator.” Out of the 107 HBCUs across the country, only 37 offer degrees in music teacher education, limiting the number of students of color who can benefit from those environments.
Students of color have historically lacked access to music education and quality music facilities in higher education environments, which has played a significant role in educators of color being historically underrepresented in the music education field. The funding provided through the IGNITE Act would increase the ability of MSIs to improve campus facilities, and in turn, their ability to provide quality instruction to students of color. NAfME is proud to support the IGNITE HBCU, TCU, and MSI Act, and we thank Rep. Adams for her continued support of music and the arts. We urge members of Congress to support this legislation and the improvement of facilities at minority serving institutions. The full text of the bill can be found here.
January 6, 2023. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)