Representatives Create Predominantly Black Institutions Caucus

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A group of Black representatives recently established a new congressional caucus to educate policymakers and develop public policy that supports and addresses the needs of Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs).

Rep. Jonathan Jackson (D-Ill.), Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.), Rep. Yvette D. Clarke (D-N.Y.), and Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) announced the news on October 26.

In 2007, PBIs were established in the College Cost Reduction Act, expanding access to federal grants and resources for universities with high numbers of low-income African American students. HBCUs (historically Black colleges and universities) differ from PBIs, as HBCUs must have documented discrimination by the federal government prior to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. For PBI designation, colleges and universities must meet eligibility requirements related to student enrollment, family income, institutional wealth, and percentage of minority students.

Today, approximately 110 PBIs serve over 480,000 students who are underrepresented, first-generation, and low-income. PBIs are mostly public two-year institutions that serve 6.8 percent of the entire Black postsecondary student population in the country, according to the Postsecondary National Policy Institute.

Jackson said this initiative marks the first congressional caucus with the sole goal of advancing support for PBIs.

“I’m proud to support Predominantly Black Institutions across the nation and at home in the Chicagoland area,” Kelly said. “PBIs foster Black student success, offer direct support to first-generation and low-income students, and address some of the most pressing challenges facing Black students. I am happy to join with Reps. Davis, Clarke, and Jackson to establish the PBI Caucus to advance policies that support these institutions and ensure that their students can achieve their dreams.”