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Landrieu: HBCU Loan Modifications Will Save La. Schools More Than $200M

April 5, 2013

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., announced that Dillard University, Southern University at New Orleans and Xavier University of Louisiana have received modifications for loans they received following Hurricane Katrina that will save the schools more than $200 million. Tougaloo College in Mississippi has also received a modification that will save the school an estimated $4 million.

These schools have begun paying off the loan principal and interest but have been facing challenges that made repayment difficult, including a slower recovery than expected and enrollment levels that have not yet returned to pre-Katrina levels. To address this situation, Sen. Landrieu included a provision in the fiscal year 2012 omnibus spending bill to authorize the loan modifications, and since then has been working with the Departments of Education and the Treasury, the Office of Management and Budget and the leadership of the affected schools to ensure that they receive these important loan modifications.

"Hurricane Katrina wreaked terrible physical damage on our HBCUs, but it could never break their spirit or their commitment to our communities. I have been proud to stand with these schools as they have fought to come back even stronger than before, but we need to do more for a complete recovery," Sen. Landrieu said. "These loan modifications will remove a serious economic burden, allowing these schools to invest more in their students and facilities. I thank the leadership of Dillard University, SUNO, Xavier University, and Tougaloo College for their partnership and their work to develop the next generation of leaders."

"Senator Mary Landrieu's leadership efforts were most critical and important in Xavier's recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Recovery from Katrina's destruction required relentless leadership. Senator Landrieu's tireless actions, in the very beginning, brought much needed low interest financial assistance, and the current necessary hurricane relief through this loan modification process. We are most grateful for her efforts," Xavier University of Louisiana President, Norman C. Francis said.

"Hurricane Katrina devastated Dillard University and the surrounding Gentilly community. Dillard had six feet of standing water inside its buildings, several of which caught fire. When others suggested that New Orleans and Dillard not be rebuilt given the level of destruction, Mary Landrieu led the way not only to rebuild and restore Dillard, but to bring our campus back better than ever. She is indeed our champion," Dillard University President Walter Kimbrough said.

"Senator Mary Landrieu assisted SUNO during dire times. The financial assistance she helped us garner addressed both immediate and future housing needs for students. Her dedication to SUNO is without question, and we are happy to continue benefitting from her tireless efforts in serving the citizens of Louisiana," SUNO Chancellor Victor Ukpolo said.

"Tougaloo College, a Mississippi institution, sincerely appreciates the determination and commitment demonstrated by Senator Landrieu to support the hurricane relief effort to benefit the affected institutions. We admire and respect her dedication to the HBCU community," Tougaloo College President Beverly Wade Hogan said.

In June 2006, Congress passed legislation that amended the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Capital Financing Program to assist Hurricane Katrina-affected HBCUs in their recovery efforts. The U.S. Department of Education made four hurricane relief loans available for a total of about $400 million for Dillard University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), and Tougaloo College in Mississippi.

 

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