This is the fourth installment in a series examining five bipartisan bills advanced by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on June 22, 2016 and approved by the full House of Representatives on July 11, 2016. While unlikely to be taken up by the Senate, the bills will help to frame the discussion for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) in the upcoming 115th Congress.

The original post briefly summarizing all five bills was posted in Education Matters on June 24, 2016.

The HBCU Capital Financing Improvement Act (H.R. 5530), introduced by Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Bradley Byrne (R-AL), is intended to increase access to capital by Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) by making changes to the HBCU Capital Financing Program which provides low-cost capital to finance improvements to campus infrastructure at HBCUs. Acting as a loan guarantee program to finance repairs, renovations, and construction of critical campus buildings, the program receives contributions from 40 HBCUs and typically offers loans ranging between $10 million and $20 million.

H.R. 5530 is intended to improve the program by:

  • Requiring the program’s Advisory Board to submit an annual report to Congress, providing an overview of all loans in the program, along with administrative and legislative recommendations for additional program improvements.
  • Increase access to the program by reclassifying the escrow account as a bond insurance fund so that more institutions can participate.
  • Authorizing the Department of Education to provide counseling to HBCUs in the preparation to qualify for, apply for, and maintain a capital improvement loan.

H.R. 5530 is cosponsored by Reps. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Marcia Fudge (D-OH), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), John Kline (R-MN), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Phil Roe (R-TN), Bobby Scott (D-VA), Glenn Thompson (R-PA), and Frederica Wilson (D-FL).

H.R. 5530 is supported by the American Council on Education, the National Association of College & University Business Officers, the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities, the American Indian Higher Education Consortium, the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities, the National Education Association, the American Association of State Colleges & Universities, the Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, the Association of American Universities, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities & Colleges, and the Council for Opportunity in Education.