We’ll bet you didn’t know that the USDA, mostly known to consumers as the part of the government that inspects our food supply, is also involved in education. Well, USDA secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that his office will be giving over $35 million to 21 historically black college and universities, the so called land-grant HBCU’s. Like other large universities including Rutgers, Penn State and others all around the country, these are schools that received land through federal grants in 1890, setting up the public college system we know today.
“Great schools, great universities, great colleges helping out kids all over the country,” Vilsack told the Tom Joyner Morning Show. “Twenty-one colleges in 19 states and two territories, including the District of Columbia. Our National Institute of Food and Agriculture gives out money every year for research; for extension, for teaching capacity, for buildings and facilities in a number of areas. Today we’re announcing 76 total grants amounting to $35 million for a number of these historically Black universities and colleges.
To Tom Joyner’s delight, one of the schools receiving funds is his alma mater, Tuskegee University.
“This will affect about 18 schools give or take,” Vilsack said. “I’ll just give you an example. Tuskegee – that’s a pretty good school to pick out. I received an honorary degree from Tuskegee so that’s my favorite. I don’t know how you feel about that, Tom.”
Tom, of course, had to respond to the good news. “I actually earned a degree,” he said. “It took me a while, but I earned it.”
Vilsack detailed the grants that Tuskegee will receive. The school, which is known for its agricultural program of study, will receive over $2 million in grants.
“They are getting five separate grants. They’re getting two extension grants for nearly a million dollars, there’s two teaching grants for nearly a million dollars and a building grant that’s almost a million dollars.” The grants are applied to each HBCU recipient in a number of ways, explains Vilsack.