The Latest: DeVos says she’ll advocate for HBCUs


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration and historically black colleges and universities (all times local):

7:30 a.m.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says she is a “strong supporter” of historically black colleges and universities.

In a statement released late Sunday, DeVos said she would “continue to be an advocate for them and for programs that make higher education more accessible to all students.”

Some higher education officials questioned the Trump administration’s support of historically black schools after the White House appeared to put a caveat on federal funds used by the colleges to obtain low-cost construction loans. President Donald Trump said his pledge to distribute money consistent with the Constitution doesn’t affect his “unwavering support.”

DeVos was criticized earlier this year for calling historically black colleges “pioneers” of school choice. She later acknowledged that the schools were created because African-Americans had been excluded from predominantly white schools.

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3:10 a.m.

President Donald Trump has declared that his support for historically black colleges and universities remains “unwavering.”

Trump sought to clarify an earlier statement that some higher education officials interpreted as meaning he planned to end a capital financing program. The operation in question is a program that helps these institutions repair, renovate and build new facilities. Congressional Black Caucus members criticized the move.

The earlier Trump statement was attached to a spending bill he signed Friday to keep the government operating through September.

Trump said in the signing statement that the administration “shall treat provisions that allocate benefits on the basis of race, ethnicity and gender … in a manner consistent with the requirement to afford equal protection of the laws” under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment.