Higher Education Grants or Gifts of Interest to African Americans

Here is this week’s news of grants or gifts to historically Black colleges and universities or for programs of particular interest to African Americans in higher education.

Historically Black Hampton University in Virginia has received a $4 million renewal grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the computer science department’s CyberCorps: Scholarships for Service program. This program supports rising juniors, seniors, and graduate students in computer science majors for two of their undergraduate years and two years in the master’s in information assurance program at Hampton. “This scholarship covers full-tuition, textbooks and travel expenses for professional development. Each SFS scholar will also receive a stipend of $22,500 per year for undergrad and $34,000 per year for graduate students,” stated computer science professor and principal investigator of the grant, Chutima Boonthum-Denecke. Additionally, participants agree to work for the federal government for as many years as they were involved in the program upon completing their degrees. Applicants can be currently enrolled Hampton University students, or transfer students from other schools, including community colleges. Each scholar must be enrolled full-time, maintain the GPA requirement, provide community outreach, and conduct, as well as present, cybersecurity related research.

Southern University, a historically Black educational institution in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has received a $2 million grant from the Entergy Corporation. The money will go to the university’s School of Engineering to enhance its curriculum, technology, and labs. After hearing about Entergy’s donation, the governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, announced that the state of Louisiana will provide a matching $2 million grant to Southern University as well. The Governor stated that the money will be used to support Fischer Hall, the chemistry and physics building on campus and to recruit more diverse students to STEM fields at the university.

Prairie View A&M University, a historically Black educational institution in Texas, has received a $500,000 donation from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to establish an African American Studies Initiative in the school’s College of Arts and Sciences. After receiving the gift, an anonymous donor gifted an additional $250,000 which the university then matched, bringing the total contribution to $1 million. The new initiative will integrate African American history and culture into the university’s liberal arts education as well as develop new courses for an African American studies program. “By strategically embedding African-American theme-based courses within the core curriculum, all students will have an opportunity to select courses that expand their academic interests while enhancing their engagement in the humanities,” explained James Palmer, interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs.

Promise Heights, an initiative led by the University of Maryland School of Social Work,  has received a five-year, $30 million grant from the United States Department of Education. The grant will support the program which aims to improve the lives of children and families in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Upton/Druid Heights. With these funds, the Promise Heights program will provide various counseling, mentoring, and tutoring support systems in five public schools in the underserved Upton/Druid Heights area. Promise Heights executive director Bronwyn Mayden believes the children in these schools desperately need the help that this program offers. She said, “when we talk about the achievement gap for children of color, we should be more focused on the lack of equity which exists for schools in high-poverty neighborhoods.”

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