BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill to settle a 15-year-old federal lawsuit related to underfunding at the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities.

The bill provides the schools with hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade.

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“The legislation passed unanimously,” Gov. Hogan said.

This legislation brings a brighter future for schools like Coppin State University.

“HBCUs in the state were underfunded,” Dr. Anthony Jenkins, President of Coppin State University, said.

Now, Coppin can look to invest in recruiting and retaining students, especially those from low-income households.

“They deserve hope and opportunity as well,” Dr. Jenkins said. “We take those students and we transform them into scholars.”

But turning students into scholars costs money.

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“It takes more resources, it takes more wrap-around support services and more administrative staff to get those students over the finish line,” Dr. Jenkins said.

Coppin will also use the funding for scholarships. Jazzleen McRae said hers is a huge help.

“I’ve gone to college the past four years and I’m leaving debt-free,” she said.

That’s the goal, Dr. Jenkins said.

“Students see loans as a secondary option and never a barrier to coming to Coppin,” he said.

McRae said more Coppin students getting scholarships is great news.

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“We can start our careers really being debt-free and having that advantage,” she said. “It brings joy to my day.”

Annie Rose Ramos