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HomeNewsArchivesUVI Struggles to Maintain Title III Funding

UVI Struggles to Maintain Title III Funding

June 23, 2008 — A key source of funding for the University of the Virgin Islands is in jeopardy, and school administrators are trying to ensure financial support stays in place.
Earlier this year, the Bush Administration proposed an $85 million cut in funding for historically black colleges and universities. Known as Title III, the federal money is a huge source of funding for more than 100 HBCUs.
UVI is the only HBCU located outside of the U.S. The university has relied on the funds to the tune of about $1.6 million for the past two years, according to Dayle Barry, UVI's Title III coordinator.
A cut in this funding could jeopardize a number of activities at the university including new equipment for the chemistry lab, which needs the upgrade to get certification for its program, Barry said.
Title III Funds are distributed from the federal government based on a number of measures, including enrollment and the number of Pell Grants awarded to students attending the institution. Pell Grants are need-based grants from the federal government to low-income undergraduates to provide access to higher education.
This week, UVI's Barry, along with 200 of his fellow Title III coordinators from across the U.S., are attending a workshop at the Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort to learn how to get the largest possible allocations for their universities from the $238 million Title III funding pot.
This is the first time the annual workshop has been held outside the U.S.
Barry says the funding has been used at UVI to make improvements including videoconferencing facilities for classes on St. Thomas and St. Croix, improved Internet capabilities and marine science facilities.
Title III funding can go to a number of activities that fall under improving academic quality, student services, fiscal stability and funds management, according to Perry Herrington, president of the National Association of HBCU Title III Administrators.
"The funds can be allocated where your university wants," Herrington said.
While the institution determines its priorities, Herrington noted that there are parameters that exclude funding for such activities as religion and entertainment.
Many HBCUs are finding that keeping enrollment numbers up is becoming more difficult as they compete with online distance learning institutions like the University of Phoenix.
Herrington says that Title III funds can be used for marketing to the same students that are being targeted by the distance learning schools.
"Title III gives a large chunk of money to pull new students to our campuses," Brenda Jackson of Southern University said. Jackson, who also serves as the association's vice president, said the funding allows schools to purchase technology that they can put to use attracting more students.
Herrington agreed, acknowledging that universities are not so different from any other business.
"In any business you have to use technology." Herrington said. "There is a need to bridge the gap so you can be competitive."
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