Today, in recognition of Black History Month, U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.) introduced legislation to overturn an outdated, biased policy and provide 1890s Land-Grant Universities with the same financial flexibility currently enjoyed by their peers. The Carryover Equity Act would fix a provision that prohibits 1890s Land-Grant Universities – all of which are Historically Black Universities – from carrying over more than 20 percent of their equity from one fiscal year to the next.

This arbitrary provision limits the ability of these Universities to use their funds as they see fit and notably diverges from policies that govern other similar Department of Agriculture programs. The legislation would benefit 19 institutions including the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Fort Valley State University, North Carolina A&T State University, Central State University, South Carolina State University, Delaware State University, Virginia State University, and West Virginia State University. In addition to Senators Van Hollen and Perdue, this bipartisan legislation was introduced by Senators Brown (D-Ohio), Tillis (R-N.C.), Graham (R-S.C.), Coons (D-Del.), Kaine (D-Va.), Cardin (D-Md.), and Manchin (D-W.V.).

Text of the bill can be foundhere.

“The University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Historically Black Land-Grant Universities across the country, educate our students in fields ranging from innovative agricultural practices to advanced engineering,” said Senator Van Hollen. “Ensuring they have the financial flexibility they need to complete their mission is crucial. That’s why I’m proud to introduce this legislation, which will allow these Universities to take full advantage of the funding they receive and provide them the flexibility to use it as needed. I appreciate the strong bipartisan support behind this legislation, and I hope we can move forward to pass it immediately.”

“These land grants were established to provide additional research and extension activities,”said Senator Perdue. “Agriculture extension services are results driven and directly contribute to America’s agriculture industry be the most competitive in the world. Allowing schools like Fort Valley State in Georgia to carry over unused grant funds from year to year, will provide them with more certainty when making long-term budgeting decisions.”

“Land-grant institutions like Central State play an important role in educating students and contributing to Ohio’s agriculture and food science industries,” said Senator Brown. “These universities deserve the flexibility to use their funding in a way that promotes research and encourages continued success for their students. I’m glad to support this bipartisan legislation.”

“Despite being faced with senseless financial limitations, North Carolina A&T State University has made invaluable contributions that have helped North Carolina build one of the most advanced extension services in the country,”said Senator Tillis.“The Carryover Equity Act will eliminate unnecessary restrictions and allow 1890s Land-Grant Universities like North Carolina A&T gain the financial flexibility they need to continue advancing their programs through long-term investment and project development.”

“This Act is tremendously important to the communities and stakeholders that we serve through the 1890 Extension programs across 18 states and beyond,” said University of Maryland Eastern Shore President Dr. Juliette B. Bell. “Specifically the proposed action will provide flexibility to the planning and implementation of extension programs in concert with other capacity programs which will lead to more effective and efficient delivery of cooperative extension programs between 1890 and 1862 universities.”