Kentucky State University (KSU) Interim President Dr. Aaron Thompson was among more than 60 leaders of and advocates for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) who met this week at the White House.
“I’m proud to represent our wonderful students, faculty, and staff and it is great to spend quality time with my fellow HBCU presidents,” Thompson said.
Thompson said members of the executive and legislative branches have listened to the needs of HBCUs around the country, including physical infrastructure, increase in scholarships, and Pell Grant extensions.
“They have stated that they recognize the richness and magnitude that we have served to student populations that have been historically underserved,” Thompson said. “We are now anxiously awaiting what the executive order will say and how Congress will respond to it.”
According to a briefing from the White House, the Domestic Policy Council hosted a listening session with presidents and chancellors of HBCUs. Before the session, all of the HBCU leaders were invited to meet President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in the Oval Office.
According to reports from various news outlets, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order that moves the federal program promoting HBCUs back under the supervision of the White House.
The initiative, known as the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is currently housed in the Department of Education.
The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities was started by President Jimmy Carter, but the Trump administration says the office has “lost track because they didn’t have the full force of the White House behind it,” reported CBS News.
Moving the initiative back to White House supervision is a move that the Trump administration hopes will strengthen the program.
According to the White House briefing, the HBCU leaders discussed ways they could improve education and enhance the infrastructure of their schools. Participants shared expert insights on policy issues impacting their individual campuses.