USAID Engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Strengthening ties between Historically Black Colleges and Universities and USAID


This activity was carried out in the framework of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Research Technical Assistance Center (RTAC) project, implemented by NORC. The study aimed to generate insights for USAID to strengthen its engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The analysis identified barriers faced by HBCUs seeking funding opportunities at USAID and offered recommendations that can help both, USAID and HBCUs increase HBCUs participation in USAID funded activities as prime and subprime grant and contract awardees.

Data was collected via a survey with faculty and representatives of HBCUs as well as through key informant interviews with HBCUs and USAID staff.

The analysis found that some of the barriers for HBCU-USAID engagement are structural (e.g., fiscal and policy constraints) and others are individual (e.g., competing personal and professional demands, faculty professional networks, USAID staff preferences).

Some of the recommendations from the analysis include: facilitating collaborative research networks that help HBCUs partnering with other institutions, strengthening the Minority-serving Institutions program at USAID with the objective of expanding its outreach to the rest of the Agency and HBCUs, host regular events (brown bags or similar) to facilitate exchanges between HBCUs and USAID, set clear benchmarks for acquisitions and assistance awarded to HBCUs and regularly track progress, and promote and support activities that contribute to the partner's (i.e. universities, university staff) development and growth during the process.

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