DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Bethune-Cookman University has signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education to obtain $108 million in funding to end a controversial deal for a new dormitory at the historically Black university.
The current leadership at B-CU announced the agreement Tuesday to secure funding as part of the HBCU Capital Financing Program and Rice Capitol that would effectively end an $85 million dorm deal started under former leadership. The HBCU Capital Financing Program, started in 1994, provides low-cost loans to finance and refinance infrastructure improvements, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
The dorm project would have cost more than $300 million in its entirety for the already financially strained university, according to a news release.
“It was the worse deal in the history of our universities,” said Interim President Dr. Hiram Powell.
The $108 million will pay off the dormitory deal contract as well as pay off bonds and be applied toward critical maintenance at B-CU.
“Ending this deal marks the dawn of a new beginning for B-CU giving the entire university community and its stakeholders confidence in the future, which now burns very bright,” B-CU Board Chairman Belvin Perry Jr. said in a news release.
Powell said the move will help secure the university’s financial future.
“The strategic thought process and actual execution completed by this team of university executives are nothing short of remarkable,” Powell said. “This ends what has been a terrible ordeal and repositions B-CU on a new and positive path for everyone.”
When asked how the University was working to address past financial struggles, Dr. Powell said, “We’ve put some financial controls in place that will ensure this won’t happen. We’ve had budgetary training.”
Perry said the finance committee meets once a month and they’ve also hired an internal auditor.
“Avoiding as much debt as possible And Living within our means,” said Perry. “This marks a new beginning for Bethune Cookman.”
The U.S. Department of Education recently discharged $1.6 billion of debt provided to Historically Black Colleges and Universities that will provide debt relief to 45 HBCUs, including Bethune-Cookman. Florida Memorial University and Florida A&M University are also taking part in the program.
Senior Murvia Soius said she’s glad to know more is being done to change that.
“I do think that it does affect the academic performance and future of the students,” she said. “I know we had a lot of fear about where we would end up.”
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