ORANGEBURG, SC (WSPA) — U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona was joined by Majority Whip Jim Clyburn to speak with officials and students from South Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

They held a roundtable South Carolina State University in Orangeburg.

They wanted to hear about pandemic recovery and how they’ve been supported by their university and the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund.

Under the American Rescue Plan (ARPA), HBCUs in South Carolina have received more than $112 million in funding and just last month, SC State and Clinton College were awarded an additional $5 million through ARPA.

Secretary Cardona said HBCUs should use these relief dollars for student support.

“There’s been so many deferred maintenance on so many of these campuses. The air quality is poor. The infrastructure is poor,” Cardona explained. “We’re doing everything we can in the Biden-Harris administration to listen to our universities and give them the flexibility in funding so they can get back on their feet and provide a top tier education.”

Congressman Clyburn said in the past there has been a tremendous lack of investment in HBCUs, like SC State, from the state of South Carolina.

He said in the last two or three years, more investments have been made at the state level and this is helping administrators make improvements at these schools.

“Thanks to the enlightened leadership we now have in the state of South Carolina, they know and realize the value of this institution,” Clyburn said.

Secretary Cardona said, federally, there is a sense of urgency to fund HBCUs.

“They punch above their weight and they are truly economic development for this community,” he said.

There are eight HBCUs in South Carolina.