‘Game-changer’: Black colleges poised for major tech funding boost under Biden bill

Historically Black colleges could soon find themselves on a path to start competing with top-tier research universities specializing in science and technology.

Jennifer Granholm, U.S. energy secretary, bumps elbows with a Howard University student after a round-table discussion about STEM diversity at Howard University in Washington on May 3. (Stefani Reynolds / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON D.C. – Administrators at historically Black colleges are eagerly awaiting passage of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, with hopes that the bill’s record funding for HBCUs could put the schools on a path to compete with top-tier research universities specializing in science and technology.

The massive social safety net package making its way through Congress would provide $3 billion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, programs at minority-serving institutions. Advocates say that level of funding is crucial to helping Black colleges develop the kind of high-tech infrastructure commonly found at schools like Johns Hopkins and MIT.

Harry Williams, head of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, told NBC News that not one HBCU has attained the coveted status of a first-tier institution, schools that excel in research activity through doctoral programs that in turn attract federal and private grants.

For more on this story, visit NBCNews.com.