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Title III

Title III Programs

What is Title III?

Title III provides financial assistance to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to establish or strengthen their physical plants, financial management, academic resources, and endowment-building capacity.

Title III came into existence as a result of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. It was designed to provide grants to assist eligible institutions in strengthening their physical plants, academic resources, and student services so that they could continue to participate in fulfilling the goal of equality in educational opportunity.  Section 301. (a) of the legislation reads:

Sec. 301. (a) The purpose of this title is to assist in raising the academic quality of colleges which have the desire and potential to make a substantial contribution to the higher education resources of our Nation for survival and are isolated from the main currents of academic life, and to do so by enabling the Commissioner to establish a national teaching fellow program and to encourage and assist in the establishment of cooperative arrangements under which these colleges may draw on the talent and experience of our finest colleges and universities, and on the educational resources of business and industry, in their effort to improve their academic quality… 

In 1975, Southern University and A&M College was advised by the then United States Office of Education to submit a proposal for the Basic Institutional Development Program (BIDP) and the Advanced Institutional Development Program (AIDP).  The latter was accepted and Dr. Kathryn Jordan was appointed as the program’s coordinator.  This grant period was from May 1976 to May 14, 1981.

The next iteration of the Title III, Part B program happened in 1981 when Southern University and A & M College received a Strengthening Developing Institutions Program Grant (SDIP) for the period of July 1, 1981 through September 30, 1983.  This grant allowed the Commissioner of Education to assist developing institutions of higher education in strengthening their academic quality and administrative capacity.

The SDIP was one of three programs collectively known as the Institutional Aid Programs (IAP).  The other two programs were the Special Needs Program and the Challenge Grant and Endowment Program.  Southern University and A & M College applied for and received all three. 

By 1986, Congressional studies had led to the following conclusions:

  1. The historically black colleges and universities have contributed significantly to the effort to attain equal opportunity through post-secondary education for Black, low-income, and educationally disadvantaged Americans;
  2. states and the Federal Government have discriminated in the allocation of land and financial resources to support black public institutions under the Merrill Act of 1862 and its progeny, and against public and private black colleges and universities in the award of federal grants contracts, and the distribution of federal resources under this act, and other federal programs which benefit institutions of higher education;
  3. the current state of black colleges and universities in partly attributable to the discriminatory action of the states and federal government and this discriminatory action requires the remedy of enhancement of black post-secondary in institutions to ensure their continuation and participation in fulfilling the federal mission of equality of educational opportunity; and
  4. financial assistance to establish or strengthen the physical plants, financial management, academic resources, and endowments of the historically black colleges and universities are appropriate methods to enhance these institutions and facilitate a decrease in reliance on governmental financial support and to encourage reliance or endowments and private sources.

As a result, the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Program was authorized under Part B of Title III of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA), as amended by the Higher Education Amendment of 1986, by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1986, and by the Higher Education Technical Amendments Act of 1987.  This is the basic structure of Title III today.

These grants are awarded based on a statutory formula to assist these institutions in establishing and strengthening their physical plants, academic resources and student services so they may continue to participate in fulfilling the goals of equality regarding education opportunity in undergraduate and/or graduate education.  Southern University and A & M College’s HBCU Programs began in 1987. 


The SAFRA Act:  Education Reconciliation in the 111th Congress

The House and the Senate approved H.Rept. 111-89, the conference report to accompany S.Con.Res. 13, the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for fiscal year 2010, on April 29, 2009. The FY2010 budget resolution includes reconciliation instructions directing the Senate HELP Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee to report changes in laws within their jurisdictions to reduce the deficit by $1 billion for the period of FY2009 through FY2014. The instructions for the House specifically direct the Education and Labor Committee to report a bill that invests in education while reducing the deficit by $1 billion over the FY2009-FY2014 period.

H.R. 3221, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, was introduced on July 15, 2009, in response to S.Con.Res. 13, to increase student aid through loan reform, improve college access and completion rates, invest in educational facilities and early childhood education, and other purposes. On July 27, 2009, the House Education and Labor Committee reported H.Rept.111-232 to accompany H.R. 3221 to the House Budget Committee for incorporation into the budget reconciliation bill and to the whole House for passage.

On September 17, 2009, the House passed H.R. 3221 by a vote of 253 to 171. H.R. 3221, as passed by the House, would amend the Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965, as amended, by making changes to existing programs and by establishing several new programs and benefits. It would also establish several new non-HEA programs. Major proposals in H.R. 3221 would include the following.

  • The authority to make loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program would be terminated after June 2010.
  • Beginning July 1, 2010, all student loans made under      Title IV of the HEA would be made under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (DL) program.
  • Beginning July 1, 2010, a new Federal Direct Perkins Loan would be offered under the DL program; and authority to make new loans under the current Federal Perkins Loan program would end.
  • Beginning in FY2010, indefinite mandatory appropriations would be provided for the Federal Pell Grant program to supplement annual discretionary appropriations.
  • Effective for AY2011-2012, the HEA, Title IV federal student aid need analysis methodology would be simplified and requirements for aid applicants to report certain asset-related financial information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) would be eliminated.

Funds have been used to strengthen and enhance undergraduate programs.  Several of the areas are listed below:

  • acquisition of scientific laboratory equipment
  • maintenance and renovation of institutional facilities
  • faculty development
  • purchase of library books and other educational materials
  • tutoring, counseling and student services