This section breaks down the process to:
At each step, we offer the questions we would advise you to consider in your own work to pass legislation.
At the end of this step-by-step breakdown, we have shared a full case study of Representative Love’s work. It includes specific legislation names and constituent outreach.
The 1890 Land Grant Act, also known as the Second Morrill Act of 1890, provides federal grants through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for agricultural research, education, and extension to nineteen Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) land grant colleges and universities (“1890 institutions”).
HBCUs did not always have access to the land grant program. Initially, land grant funds were only provided to the fifty-seven 1862 institutions deemed eligible under the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862, predominately white land grant colleges and universities (“1862 institutions”).
The USDA distributes capacity grants, also known as formula funds, among eligible 1862 and 1890 institutions based on statutory formulas. These grants generally require one-to-one non-federal matching funds provided by the state or a non-federal source. In 2020, [LINK] according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), 1862 institutions received over 80 percent ($574 million) of federal capacity funds, and 1890 land grant institutions received 18 percent ($124 million).
However, the state’s failure to provide a one-to-one match is a problem. It also exacerbates disparate funding at the federal level for 1890 institutions.
Currently, the law permits USDA to give waivers to states, allowing them to match less than half of the federal funds for 1890 institutions. These waivers were initially intended to ensure that 1890 institutions would still receive federal funds even if the states could not provide the full match. However, it has incentivized states to underfund 1890 institutions while fully funding 1862 institutions.