After years of attempted negotiations, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signed legislation on Wednesday to provide the state’s historically Black colleges and universities with an additional $577 million over ten years to settle a 15-year-long lawsuit.
In 2013, Maryland’s U.S. District Court found that the University System of Maryland “failed to desegregate … as required by federal law.” Last year, Hogan vetoed a similar bill, citing economic concerns spurred by the coronavirus pandemic.
The legislation commits funding to Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Morgan State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore for general uses, including scholarships, faculty recruitment and development and improving existing academic programs.
[Maryland state delegate plans to introduce bill separating HBCUs from USM]
The legislation also directs the four HBCUs to coordinate with the University of Maryland Global Campus to explore developing online courses.
“[This] historic, bipartisan measure [will] be an unprecedented step forward in addressing inequities in our higher education system by making additional substantial investments in Maryland’s historically Black colleges and universities,” Hogan said.
Funding disbursement for the four HBCUs will start in fiscal year 2023 and last 10 years, until 2032.
“It’s a long time coming because it’s complex, and it’s hard, and it’s issues of historic inequity that we’ve had to confront that’s taken lawsuits, tough debate, negotiation, compromise,” said Maryland Senate President Bill Ferguson.