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Federal Departments Say State of Tennessee Is Underfunded by $2.1 Billion Over 30 Years |  Tennessee


(The Center Square) – Tennessee State University has been underfunded by $2.1 billion over the past 30 years alone, says a letter from the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. ‘Agriculture.

The letter was among 16 letters sent to state governors claiming that 18 historically black colleges and universities have been underfunded to the tune of $12 billion compared to other land-grant institutions in their states.

THE letter to Tennessee Governor Bill Lee acknowledged that the state had begun to address funding issues in recent years, but said there was a notable disparity in funding compared to the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

“These funds could have supported infrastructure and student services and would have better positioned the university to compete for research grants,” the letter states. “Tennessee State University has been able to make remarkable progress and would be much stronger and better positioned to serve its students, your state and the nation if it were closed on this funding gap.”

For years, the state of Tennessee did not receive the matching funding promised by the Statewhich was supposed to be equal to the amount of federal funds received by the State of Tennessee as a land-grant institution.

“Unacceptable inequities in funding have forced many of our nation’s historically black colleges and universities to operate with insufficient resources and delay critical investments in everything from campus infrastructure to research and development in through student support services,” U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. . “I am continually inspired by all that HBCUs have accomplished despite having to punch above their weight.”

The federal letter suggests that Tennessee significantly change its funding for secondary education in the future.

“Given the significant amount of state funding owed to Tennessee State University, it would be ambitious to address the multi-year funding disparity in the state budget,” the letter states. “This may very well be your desire to do so, which we wholeheartedly support. However, if an ambitious timetable is not possible, we suggest a combination of a substantial state allocation to close the 1890 deficit, combined with a prospective budget commitment for two-to-one federal funding in the form land grants for these institutions in order to bring parity to funding levels.