State Could Owe HBCU Tennessee State University More Than $500M After Years of Withholding Mandated Funding

Nashville, TN (TN Tribune)–When TSU was founded in June 1912, the federal government placed the historically Black college and the University of Tennessee (UT) on a land grant program. The specific plan would guarantee that for every dollar sent by the federal government to fund schools, the state of Tennessee would match said amount.

Tennessee State University could be seeing a considerable payout after the state allegedly failed to match millions of dollars in grant funding.

According to legislative financial analysts, the state Tennessee may owe up to $544 million to the

Tennessee State University one of 4 HBCUs in Nashville and after years of unpaid land grant matches.

Rep. Harold Love Jr. spoke recently on behalf of the institution, stating that the land grant should have matched 75 percent for UT and 25 percent for TSU. However, because funding for TSU had been so inconsistent, both on the federal and state side, appropriate money was never allocated to the school. Some are also arguing that the ratio is off and that the school is owed a lower figure $150 million instead. Others prominent members of the community argue that the school is owed a higher figure when penalties and interest are added if racism was the reason the money was never allocated.

Rep. Love Jr. addressed the potential discrepancy, stating, “The argument that we don’t know what the ratio is, that doesn’t hold water. We’ve been funding these 75-25 from the federal government. TSU sometimes is not getting their money [and] TSU is not getting paid dollar for dollar.”

TSU’s President Dr. Glenda Glover said that this a common issue with several HBCUs  schools. “We know there has been some past ills among HBCUs across the country when it comes to land grant matches,” Dr. Glover said and I’m happy that Tennessee is taking the lead in this process. I am also talking to other HBCU presidents of land grant institutions because we all have the same problem.”