President Donald Trump announced on September 10 that he plans to lift the ban on federal funding for faith-based historically black colleges and universities.

He said the Department of Justice has published an opinion declaring such restrictions as unconstitutional. Speaking at the National HBCU Week Conference in Washington, Trump touted his administration’s efforts in advancing HBCUs, reports Inside Higher Ed.

This nation owes a profound and enduring debt of gratitude to its HBCUs. —US President Donald Trump

“Previously, federal law restricted more than 40 faith-based HBCUs and seminaries from fully accessing federal support for capital improvement projects,” President Trump said. “This meant 40 of your faith-based institutions which had made such tremendous contributions to America were unnecessarily punished for their religious beliefs.”

Trump informed his audience, which included HBCU leaders from around the country, that 32 federal agencies and departments will prioritize working with HBCUs about providing them financial support.

“This nation owes a profound and enduring debt of gratitude to its HBCUs,” Trump declared. “My administration is determined to fight for you and the noble institutions you represent each and every day.”

Leaders of the nation’s HBCUs believed that having a good relationship with the administration will pay off in the future, reports Politico.

“With every administration we pledge to work well,” said Katara Williams, chief of staff for the Southern University system. “Any advancement that we can get in terms of providing additional access through scholarships or grants…we’re very grateful.”

However, some leaders expressed concern over whether Trump would be able to deliver his promise. “I think it’s important to stay focused on the money and not on the message,” said Austin Lane, president of Texas Southern University. “We’re here to find out, most importantly, if there’s money to access, where is it and how do we get it.”

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