A Potential Financial Windfall for Historically Black Tennessee State University

A joint committee of the Tennessee State Legislature has found that historically Black Tennessee State University has been shortchanged on budget allocations dating back to the 1950s. Tennessee State Univerity and the University of Tennessee Knoxville are the two land-grant institutions in Tennessee and have agricultural programs that are funded largely by the federal government. The land-grant designation comes with the stipulation that the state would match a yearly monetary grant from the federal government.

In 1913, the legislature stipulated that Tennessee State should receive 25 percent of the federal land grant funds allocated to the state. But from 1957 to 2007, the historically Black university did not receive land grant allocations. The legislative committee said that Tennessee State is entitled to between $150 million and $544 million.

“This is rectifying a problem that has existed and persisted for decades where Tennessee State, as an HBCU, did not receive funding from the state as directed by state and federal law,” explains Glenda Glover, president of Tennessee State University. “Unfortunately, somewhere in the process, our funding was channeled to other areas instead of coming to the university, while UT, the state’s other land grant institution received their funding and much more.

“We are pleased with the findings of the land-grant study committee and excited about the possibilities of what this means for the university,” added President Glover. “TSU will be made stronger and more vibrant, which benefits all of Tennessee.”

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