A federal judge has brought a 15-year underfunding lawsuit to a close-by awarding Maryland’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities — Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University in Baltimore, and the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore, $577 million in settlement money.
Underfunding among America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities is nothing new, and the state of Maryland has long been accused of shorting its HBCUs. Some estimates have the Old Line State shorting its Black public colleges by at least $2.73 billion. Instances of underfunding have prompted the Biden administration to call for increased funding of the nation’s HBCUs and minority-serving institutions, especially in funding STEM programs.
The lawsuit accused the state of Maryland of developing and funding programs at traditionally white schools which competed with the aforementioned HBCUs, thus driving away prospective students. The deal approved in federal court will provide $555 million in added funding over 10 years, beginning in 2023. Maryland’s four HBCUs will also receive $22 million in legal costs.
District Judge Catherine C. Blake in 2013 found that Maryland had maintained “a dual and segregated education system,” which is a violation of the U.S. constitution. It is expected that the awarded funds will be used to award scholarships and extend financial aid but said funding could also be used to improve and expand programs that already exist at these educational institutions.
Lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year to set aside the money, and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill last month.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.