Landrieu Receives Award for Commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities
NAFEO gives Landrieu 2008 Congressional Award
WASHINGTON -- The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) last week honored United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., with a 2008 Congressional Award for her commitment to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Since Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Sen. Landrieu has made it a priority to secure federal funding and low-interest loans for the schools' recovery in the Gulf Coast.
"I am honored to receive this award and will continue to fight for the full recovery of all of Louisiana's HBCUs," Sen. Landrieu said. "Many of Louisiana's campuses were submerged by floodwaters that destroyed their infrastructure, and two and a half years later, they are still struggling to rebuild. We have made some good strides with federal funding and low-interest loans, but we must continue to reinforce these tools and resources. Our students deserve a quality education that prepares them for successful careers.
Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Sen. Landrieu included language in a 2006 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations bill to lower the interest rates and reduce loan fees for the Department of Education's HBCU Capital Financing Program. This language applied exclusively to schools on the Gulf Coast and lasted for a one-year period. Dillard University closed on a $160 million low-interest loan in May 2007, saving the school about $110 million over the 30-year life of the loan. This same Landrieu measure also removed a five-to-ten percent escrow requirement and cut the loan fee in half, from two percent to one percent. Xavier University and Southern University at New Orleans also closed on low-interest loans.
Sen. Landrieu, an Appropriations Committee member, then secured $30 million in supplemental spending to help reconstruct Hurricane Katrina- and Rita-impacted higher education institutions. Dillard, Southern and Xavier universities each received direct appropriations. In 2006, Sen. Landrieu obtained $17.8 million in federal assistance for HBCUs affected by Katrina and Rita.
Last week in Washington, D.C., the NAFEO hosted its 33rd annual convention, titled "A National Dialogue on America's Black Colleges: Strengthening the Foundation, Shaping the Future." This year's chair of NAFEO was Dr. Ralph Slaughter, president of the Southern University System.