WILBERFORCE, Ohio (WDTN) — Wilberforce University is on the list of colleges eligible to benefit from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplement Appropriations Act (CRRSAA), which includes debt relief for historically black universities and colleges.
“This would make a tremendous difference to get Wilberforce back to financial independence and stability,” said Congressman Mike Turner (R-Dayton). “Wilberforce had and has an outstanding loan upwards of $25 million. In the CARES ACT, we’ve been able to secure funding for historically black colleges.”
Wilberforce University is the first private HBCU in the nation and it relies on endowments for revenue, like most private universities. But according to reports from the Government Accountability Office, the median endowment for HBCU’s is half that of other colleges and universities of the same size.
The report said Wilberforce University’s endowment dropped from $12 million in 2014 to $8.2 million in 2018. Now with coronavirus-related revenue losses, it’s become even harder for the HBCU to survive.
“Our historically black colleges provide a unique experience for African American community. But in addition for us locally they have such great historical significance,” Turner said.
In a statement to 2 NEWS, President of Wilberforce, Dr. Efred Pinkard said, “
“On behalf of the Wilberforce University community, I express sincere and heartfelt thanks and appreciation to our partner, United Negro College Fund (UNCF, Inc.),
Congressman Michael R.Turner and members of the Congressional Black Caucus for their steadfast support, advocacy and hard work which resulted in loan forgiveness for Wilberforce University under the HBCU Capital Financing Program.
This significant reduction in the university’s debt will allow us to continue our path forward to a financially stable, high performing and sustainable Wilberforce University committed to providing an outstanding academic and student-engagement experience for the students we serve.”Dr. Efred Anthony Pinkard, 22nd president, Wilberforce University
Funding for the University is pending. Turner said “It’s a difficult time for Wilberforce University. This would make a huge difference. We’d be able to celebrate this as a community this accomplishment.”