U.S. Senators Katie Britt, Laphonza Butler Join Bipartisan HBCU Caucus

February 27, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 27, 2024 — U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.) and Senator Laphonza Butler (D-Calif.) have announced they are joining the Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus.

Originally founded in 2015, the HBCU Caucus has grown to over 100 members in the Senate and the House and continues to be an important voice in ensuring HBCUs receive the strategic investment and support they need to thrive.

“As a former trustee of one of Alabama’s 14 HBCUs, I’ve seen firsthand how integral these incredible institutions are to our nation’s higher education system and how they pave the way for generations of students to achieve their American Dream,” said Senator Britt. “I will proudly continue to support America’s HBCUs as they grow 21st-century opportunities for families and strengthen local communities by creating jobs, fostering innovation, and equipping students with the keys to success.”

“My time at Jackson State University helped shape how I show up in the world, which is why I am making a promise to the next generation to keep investing in our nation’s HBCU’s,” said Senator Butler. “While HBCUs may only represent 3% of the nation’s colleges and universities, they produce 50% of black teachers and 80% of black judges and provide hundreds of thousands of students with a top-tier education. These institutions serve as critical engines for social mobility and economic opportunity and deserve nothing less than continued support from congressional partners.”

There are 107 HBCUs across the country that enroll over 300,000 students every year and disproportionally serve low-income and first-generation college attendees. Fourteen of these HBCUs are located in Alabama, the highest number of any state. Alabama’s HBCUs are reported to have an annual economic impact of at least $1.5 billion and more than 15,000 jobs.

America’s HBCUs provide a quality education, create the network and pathways necessary for career advancement, and help build a strong 21st-century workforce. Over the years, congressional support of HBCUs has manifested in securing federal funding, launching ROTC programs for aspiring pilots, and fostering the legacy and tradition of these institutions across the country.

The HBCU Caucus was created to inform Congress and the American people about the important impact HBCUs have on higher education, as well as to encourage discussion about the challenges HBCUs face while encouraging bipartisan legislation to fix them. Some of these challenges include a limited capacity to access research and development grants, obtain funding for infrastructure improvements, and recruit faculty.