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Secretary Spellings Delivers Remarks at the 2007 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference


Washington, D.C. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today delivered remarks to higher education leaders, members of the business community, and policymakers at the 2007 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week Conference in Washington, D.C. The President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities host the annual HBCU Week conference.

On the anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, Secretary Spellings remembered all those who died six years ago, as well as their families who still grieve. She noted that, “Education remains our single greatest safeguard against the ignorance that led to those terrible acts and the source of the freedom and progress that allow us to persevere.”

“HBCUs have always known how important education is to preserving our freedom and improving our nation. It’s part of what makes your mission so important.”

“You represent a wide range of quality colleges and universities that have been producing outstanding alumni for 170 years. From Langston Hughes to Oprah Winfrey, former students of HBCUs have made an historic mark on this nation, and continue to do so today,” Spellings said.

Secretary Spellings also emphasized the Bush Administration’s support for HBCUs, including:

Funding for HBCUs and Historically Black Graduate Institutions has increased 29 percent since 2001;
The College Cost Reduction and Access Act, which the President is expected to sign very soon, will provide $170 million over 5 years to help HBCUs increase capacity in the critical fields of the future—science, math, technology, and foreign language education.
The bill also provides a large increase for Pell grants—$11.4 million—which serve our neediest postsecondary students.
Spellings discussed the importance of expanding opportunities for African American students—and why it is so important to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act and maintain its rigorous accountability—“so no African American student, or any child, can be shuffled along without acquiring the skills they need to succeed,” she said.

Spellings also outlined additional Department efforts in higher education, including:

Her action plan to address the challenges of accessibility, transparency, and affordability;
Investments in the Academic Competitiveness (ACG) and SMART grant programs for low-income students; and,
Development of a new online tool—the FAFSA4Caster—to help families plan ahead for college.


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