July-August 2020
Top Story

HBCU Sports on Hold
Although the Big South Conference will begin competition in September, member institution Hampton University will not be participating. It is not alone. All four of the primarily HBCU athletic conferences have cancelled or postponed fall competition. With few exceptions, institutions have followed suit. The financial impact of these decisions could be considerable. The State Fair Classic, the MEAC-SWAC Challenge, the Celebration Bowl and other traditional rivalries are revenue generators. Cancellation of the annual Southern Heritage Classic and the Detroit Football Classic, for example, will probably cost Tennessee State about $750,000. These losses are in addition to the NCAA's payout reduction in March. HBCUs remain hopeful that they will be able to play winter sports. The Southwestern Athletic Conference plans to move postponed football schedules to the spring semester. If the risk of COVID declines, training could begin in January. Read more.
Other News

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its interim guidelines for reopening in the fall. The guidelines are intended to supplement not replace applicable laws, including existing privacy laws. Topics covered include screening, testing, and contact tracing. The CDC also made available a recorded discussion on keeping students safe this fall.

The Department of Homeland Security published an FAQ to clarify restrictions on international students. Confusion arose when an exemption permitting foreign students to remain in the U.S., even if their institutions were not holding face to face classes, was withdrawn and then reinstated. The reinstatement came amid criticism and lawsuits filed by universities and several state attorneys general. The policy reversal does not extend the exemption to new international students. Read more.

Delaware State University has finalized plans to acquire neighboring Wesley College, pending approval by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Delaware State is the first HBCU to acquire a non-HBCU institution. The move provides the University with a strategic location in downtown Dover and the opportunity to expand its academic programs. Read more.

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
(CDU) plans to establish an independent four-year medical school. Presently, the University partners with the University of California, Los Angeles to provide programs that lead to advanced degrees in public health, business administration, and science as well as in medicine. Read more

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) has been completely restored to its pre-September 5, 2017 status. A federal judge ordered the action in light of the recent Supreme Court decision that found the attempt to rescind the program was unlawful. The order paves the way for advocates to pressure the government to resume accepting new DACA applications. Read more.

The HBCU Africa Homecoming Ghana 2020 held a virtual conference this month. The presidents of Morgan State University, Tennessee State University, and Benedict College spoke at the three-day event. The goals were to foster cooperation between HBCU leaders and leaders of African institutions; promote STEAM, innovation, and entrepreneurship; facilitate faculty and student exchanges, and collaborate to further research and technology transfer. Read more.

The Chronicle of Higher Education sponsored a virtual conference on Race, Class, and Minority-Serving Institutions. Topics included, finance, equity, student support and the pandemic. Dr. Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College co-hosted the event and Dr. Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University, was a panelist. Read more.

Dr. William R. Harvey, president of Hampton University wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post outlining how his institution handled critical pandemic related decisions. Read more.

2018-2019 Direct Loan Program closeout deadline is Friday, July 31, 2020. Click here for more information.

Financial statements and compliance audits will be submitted electronically through eZ-Audit effective August 2, 2020. Deadlines have been extended ix months. Click here for more information.

The deadlines for distributing the Annual Security Report and the Annual Fire Safety Report have been extended to December 31, 2020. Click here to read the announcement.

Crime and fire survey will be open from November 18, 2020, through January 14, 2021. For assistance contact the campus safety help desk by phone (1-800-435-5985) or email (campussafetyhelp@westat.com). Click here to read the announcement.

The deadline for distribution of the annual Equity in Athletics Disclosures to required recipients has been extended to December 31, 2020. Click here to read the announcement.

The Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act (EADA) survey will be open from December 2, 2020 through January 28, 2021. For assistance contact the Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act help desk by phone (1-888-233-5421) or email (eadahelp@westat.com). Click here to read the announcement.

Direct Subsidized Loans, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and Direct PLUS Loans interest rates for loans first disbursed on or after July 1, 2020 and before July 1, 2021 are available. The fixed interest rate for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Undergraduate Students is 2.75%. The fixed interest rate for Direct Unsubsidized Loans for Graduate and Professional Students is 4.30%. The fixed interest rate for Direct PLUS Loans for Parents of Dependent Undergraduate Students and for Graduate or Professional Students is 5.30%.

The Department issued a reminder listing alternative documentation that will be accepted for FAFSA and ISIR verification. The Department also stated that during the pandemic, increased use of professional judgement will not be viewed negatively or used as a criterion for a program compliance review. Click here to read the announcement.

The Loan Rehabilitation Income and Expense Information form for Direct Loan and Federal Family Education Loan programs is available. The previous form expired May 31, 2020 but may be used until December 31, 2020. Click here for more information.

The 2021-2022 SAR Comment Codes and Text reference guide is available. The guide includes information about changes made to the Student Air Report comments for 2021-2022. It is designed as a stand-alone guide as well as a companion to the 2021–2022 EDE Technical Reference. Click here for more information

Volume 1 of the Federal Student Aid Handbook (Student Eligibility) for 2020-2021 is available. Click here for more information.

Changes to Gainful Employment Regulations went into effect July 1, 2020. The rule was rescinded. Click here for more information.

Revisions to the Institutional Accountability (Borrower Defense) rule went into effect July 1, 2020. Click here for more information.

The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgement is postponed to 2021. Click here for more information.
Paycheck Protection Program Update

The Department of Education has issued the following statement: The Department is aware that institutions receiving loans from the Small Business Administration through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under §1102 of the CARES Act have an opportunity to have up to the full amount of the loan principal forgiven by meeting certain employment requirements. Therefore, as long as an estimate of the amount of forgiveness of PPP loan funds the institution expects to earn, or the actual amount of loan forgiveness provided is identified on an institution’s audited financial statements for the year in which the loan was received, and attested to by the institution’s auditor, the Department will exclude that portion of the PPP loan from total liabilities and increase the institution’s equity or net assets by that amount in calculating the institution’s composite score. Click here to read the announcement.
Grants, Awards, Gifts

The Community Foundation of Greater Memphis named LeMoyne-Owned College beneficiary of an endowment of $40,000,000. The gift allows unrestricted use of the funds. The College will receive an amount equal to 5% of the average balance of the fund annually as long as it keeps its nonprofit status and maintains its mission.

Mississippi Valley State University received a five-year $200,000 grant from the Woodward Hines Education Foundation to support student success initiatives. Additionally, the vice president of the Mississippi Valley State University's Faculty Senate, Shannon Bowden, received a $24,500 grant to support her research into the Civil Rights Movement.

McDonald’s USA created a scholarship fund for HBCU students. Facilitated by the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, the Black & Positively Golden® Scholarship Fund will provide $500,000 in scholarships for the 2020-2021 academic year. MacDonald's is also working with the ESSENCE Girls United HBCU initiative.

Tennessee State University received a $200,000 grant from the the Charles E. Schell Foundation for Education to support students impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Vanguard Group has contributed $100,000 to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund's COVID-19 HBCU Emergency Fund. It also granted $50,000 each to Delaware State, Florida A&M, Hampton, Howard, and North Carolina A&T Universities to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Claflin University received a grant of nearly $75,000 to participate in an effort to develop training to improve women's entrepreneurship in family-owned businesses. The grant is a sub-award from the University of Nebraska Omaha's Center for Afghanistan Studies. Claflin will partner with Visva-Bharati University, a public research institution in West Bengal, India.

Central State University President Dr. Jack Thomas used $50,000 of his salary to create a scholarship fund. He is actively seeking contributors to expand the fund.

Grants, Awards, Gifts Continued

The state of Florida increased the funding it will allocate to its HBCUs for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Florida A&M University will receive $92,800,000. Bethune-Cookman University will receive $16,960,000. Florida Memorial University will receive $7,000,000. Edward Waters College will receive $6,400,000.

South Carolina's governor allocated $2,400,000 from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund to the state's HBCUs. South Carolina State University will receive $632,397. Benedict College will receive $547,539. Claflin University will receive $546,023. Allen University will receive $217,527. Morris College will receive $166,048. Voorhees College will receive $141,195. Denmark Technical College will receive $119,174 and Clinton College will receive $53,493.

Sallie Mae partnered with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to launch student support programs and provide $3,000,000 in scholarships over the next three years.

North Carolina A&T University received a grant of $200,000 from the National Science Foundation to study the psychosocial determinants of successful remote learning. An interdisciplinary team will study students from North Carolina A&T and other public HBCUs. The University also received a five-year $3,250,000 award for nursing scholarships from the Health Resources and Services Administration. The University of North Carolina Board of Governors announced it has partnered with the North Carolina Policy Collaboratory to award each of the university system's HBCUs $1,000,000 in COVID-19 funding.

The National Science Foundation granted $350,000 to Dr. Mogus D. Mochena, a physics professor at Florida A&M University. Dr. Mochena will study nanostructures which are expected to play a major role in spintronics, the next generation of electronics.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services granted $8,000,000 to Meharry Medical College to support the Center for Health Policy's BRIDGE to Success program. The funds will be used to support efforts in programming and services for local students and their caregivers.

The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) to produce co-branded, co-produced and co-marketed webinars to support students at member institutions. 
Leadership Changes

The Board of Trustees at Saint Augustine’s University named Dr. Irving Pressley McPhail as the president of the institution. Dr. McPhail has extensive experience in higher education administration. He served as president of LeMoyne-Owen College and was a senior administrator at both Pace and Delaware State Universities.

Shaw University named Dr. Tony W. Barr, Sr, Mr. Isaac Wheeler, Sr., and Mr. Ian Finley to its Board of Trustees.

The Atlanta University Center Consortium named Talitha M. Washington, Ph.D., director of AUCC Data Science Initiative. The objective of the initiative is to increase the level and number of minorities in fields related to data science research. Morehouse School of Medicine, Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark Atlanta University are members of the consortium.

Jackson State University named Dr. Alisa Mosley interim provost. She is also serving as vice president for Academic Affairs. She plans to focus on student success initiatives and facilitating professional development opportunities for faculty.

Prairie View A&M University named Dorie J. Gilbert, Ph.D., dean of the Brailsford College of Arts & Sciences, effective August 1, 2020. Dr. Gilbert is an experienced administrator and is currently serving as dean of Graduate Studies at the university.

Texas College named Greg Ellis, head football coach. Mr. Ellis' career in the NFL included stints as team captain for both the Dallas Cowboys and the Oakland Raiders. He is also the founder and CEO of a multimedia production company.

The COO of Zoom, Aparna Bawa, will join Claflin University's Board of Trustees. Zoom and Claflin have announced a partnership that includes internships, scholarships, and academic projects.

The Department of Education's Civil Rights head will step down. Kenneth Marcus will be replaced by Kimberly Richey. The Civil Rights office handles Title IX, accessibility and discrimination.

A Delaware State University physics professor, Dr. Mukti Rana, was awarded a patent for a newly discovered alloy. The material can be used to detect electromagnetic radiation in medium and long wavelength infrared regions. 

Jackson State University announced the launch of an initiative designed to train faculty and students in intellectual property protection, market assessment and commercialization.

Meharry Medical College will begin the trial process for an antiviral drug developed by Dr. Donald Alcendor to treat coronavirus patients.

Prairie View A&M University researchers are working to develop a plant-based antiviral that can be used against COVID-19 and other viral diseases. Dr. Sameh Abdelwahed, Ph.D., is the principal investigator of the project.

Southern University launched a line of medical THC marijuana products. The University is the first HBCU to do so.

North Carolina A&T State University's general counsel for legal affairs, Ms. Melissa J. Holloway, J.D., was awarded the 2019-2020 National Association of College and University Attorneys Distinguished Service Award.

Kentucky State University's nursing program was ranked the best in the state for online RN to BSN nursing programs by the registered nurses site, registerednursing.org.

Tennessee State University's HBCU C2 initiative will help Apple expand its support for coding and tech skills at other HBCUs.

Bennett College joined the state of North Carolina in honoring the life of Andrea Lynette Harris. The former trustee and founder of the North Carolina HBCU Alumni Advisory Council passed away in May.

HBCUs joined the nation in paying tribute to Representative John R. Lewis and the Reverend C. T. Vivian. Both legends of the Civil Rights Movement passed away on July 17, 2020.

Event:Black Philanthropy Month
Date:August 1-31, 2020

Event:EDUCAUSE Annual Conference
Date:October 27-29, 2020
Location:Boston, MA or Online

Event:Network Security2020
Date:September 20-25, 2020
Location:Las Vegas, NV or Online
Information:Course List

Event:WCET Annual Meeting
Date:October 6-November 12, 2020

WPG Special Report

Approaching the Fall

The pandemic has persisted throughout July, worsening in some of the areas where earlier, it had been under control. Recent data indicates that the number of people who are or have been infected is greater than the number of reported cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this implies that infected people who have mild or no symptoms are spreading the coronavirus.


It is against this backdrop, that institutions of higher education are grappling with reopening for the fall semester. The federal government openly advocates for a resumption of face-to-face classes. The president has gone so far as to threaten to withhold federal funds from institutions that do not resume face-to-face instruction.


However, the federal government hasn't provided the extra funding needed for such an undertaking. Many institutions reduced their faculty and staff to cope with the economic impact of the pandemic. The costs and logistics of reopening and staying open this fall could be daunting for them. Although another stimulus package that may include $30,000,000,000 for colleges and universities is in the works, disbursal of any such funds would not be in time for fall.


Earlier this month, Dr. Robert Ray Redfield, director of the CDC, said that the CDC never recommended closure. But although, he spoke favorably of face-to-face instruction, the White House prevented him from testifying before the House Education and Labor Committee. Committee Chairman, Bobby Scott said the testimony was requested so legislators could find out how they could help institutions reopen safely. The White House has also clashed publicly with Dr. Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.


This politicization of the pandemic and the escalation in infections and deaths has not made it easy for institutions. Most public institutions, including HBCUs, are reopening with face-to-face instruction. The plans of private institutions are mixed, with some reopening with face-to-face instructions, others going fully virtual, and others taking a hybrid approach.


For example, in Georgia, as part of the University System, Albany State, Fort Valley State, and Savannah State Universities are reopening for face-to-face instruction. Private institutions are generally not following suit. The members of the Atlanta University Consortium, with the exception of Morehouse School of Medicine, will conduct classes virtually. Spelman College, a member of the consortium, stated the plans to hold face-to-face instruction were scrapped because infection rates in Georgia were trending upward. The college adjusted fees for campus-based activities and was among a short list of institutions to do so. 


Whatever way forward institutions take, the road ahead will be rocky. The following resources may be of interest to administrators as they continue to tweak plans for the fall.


  1. CDC's general recommendations for school administrators and institutions of higher education
  2. CDC's stakeholder call with higher ed (video)
  3. CDCs recommendations for higher education(video)
  4. CDCs guidance on testing
  5. Leaked unreleased CDC document 
  6. American College Heath Association's Considerations for Reopening Institutions of Higher Education
  7. Open Smart EDU's Planning and Self-Assessment Guide for Higher Education
  8. Smart Sheet's Higher Education Return-to-Campus Planning tool
  9. Johns Hopkins Center's Health Security Self-Assessment Calculator (Excel)
  10. Davidson College's College Crisis Initiative 
About This Publication
WPG HBCU News is a monthly email published by the Wesley Peachtree Group, CPAs (WPG). It provides short summaries of news articles, government regulations, and announcements found online.

WPG HBCU News is available at no cost to HBCU administrators, trustees, and senior stakeholders. It is not intended as legal or financial advice. WPG's staff, writers, publishers, web hosts, e-mail distributors, and others involved with the production and presentation of this newsletter are not liable for errors, omissions, losses, injuries, or damages arising directly or indirectly from use of this newsletter or any information presented therein.

WPG is a full-service accounting firm with clients in the private business, education, government, faith-based, and not-for-profit sectors. We specialize in higher-education with a particular emphasis on minority-serving institutions. Our support for HBCUs includes the WPG HBCU News (this publication) and the Annual WPG HBCU Forum.
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