Memorandum on Historically Black Colleges and Universities


July 24, 1987


Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies


On September 15, 1981, I issued Executive Order 12320, to enhance the Federal Government's support of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). On September 22, 1982, I issued further implementing instructions. The Executive Order is one aspect of my continuing commitment to improve educational opportunities for all Americans and particularly for the poor and minorities. The enrollment of minorities in postsecondary education is key to their personal economic success and to the growth of the American economy.


Since 1981, under the leadership of the Department of Education, there has been much progress by the 27 agencies specifically included in the Executive Order. It is apparent, however, that more can and should be done.


I am therefore now taking the following steps:


1. I direct the heads of the 27 agencies to make a personal effort to find creative ways to increase opportunities for HBCUs to participate in their programs and to make sure that agency officials understand the high priority I personally place on this initiative. Examples of activities each agency should explore include:


reviewing all agency programs for areas where more extensive involvement with HBCUs would aid the agency in fulfillment of its mission and could lead to a permanent improvement in the quality of the HBCUs' programs.


identifying ways to forge long-term links between specific schools and the private sector.


striving to increase the level of agency funding for higher education allocated to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.


2. I direct the Secretary of Education to provide additional assistance, as needed, to the 27 involved agencies as they carry out the objectives of the Executive Order.


3. I direct the Secretary of Education to conduct a thorough study of the factors that affect minority postsecondary enrollment, both financial and nonfinancial, and provide the results to me and to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget no later than June 1, 1988. The study should be comprehensive in scope and should include any recommendations of the Secretary for cost-effective approaches to increasing minority enrollment.


4. Pending completion of the study, I direct the Secretary of Education to provide to me and to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget by September 30, 1987, his recommendations for more immediate activities that can help address minority postsecondary enrollment. These recommendations should be developed in consultation with other involved agencies.


We have made significant progress in implementing the Executive Order, and I look forward to significant further strides forward in this matter. Educational opportunities for qualified minority students are vital to our Nation's future.


Ronald Reagan