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Millions of dollars in aid sit in limbo for HBCUs

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Millions of dollars in aid are sitting in limbo for historically black colleges and universities. The U.S. Senate has yet to approve Title III education funding.

It was a topic Elizabeth Warren brought up when she visited North Carolina A&T State University. Warren spoke of a $50 million pool available to HBCUs.

At A&T, Title III helps pay for 50 Ph.D. students and a number of graduate students. The university is covered financially through 2020 but if Congress fails to make a decision soon, HBCUs across the country will have some tough choices to make.

Brenda Caldwell takes pride in her education but says she knows it wouldn’t be possible without federal funding -- especially if Title III aid runs out.

“Things that students need to be able to come to college, they’re missing out on those things,” said Caldwell, a junior at A&T.

A&T relies on almost $2 million in Title III aid.

“Currently we receive about $1.62 million a year from Title III funding so it’s not a large part of our budget but any time you talk about numbers in the millions, those are substantial dollars,” said Ray Trapp, director of external affairs at A&T.

Even though the funds make up a small portion of A&T’S total budget, that amount is still crucial.

“We’re the largest producer of black engineers in the US and so we’re putting out our students into the workforce that are making a difference in this country and so I think that it’s very valuable that Congress understands this and that we pass this through the Senate,” Trapp said.

Caldwell is passionate about political science. It’s her major and she hopes a decision in D.C. is made soon.

“It affects our ability to expand as a campus so building new dorms, parking lots, and other things that we need,” Caldwell said.

The hope is for a decision to be made on Capitol Hill before the new year.

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