Historically Black Colleges & Universities
  • Sweeney Hall, LoMoyne-Owen College, Memphis, TN; Emery Hall, Central State University, Wilberforce, OH; Academic Hall, Hampton University, Hampton, VA

    State, Tribal, Local, Plans & Grants

    Cultural Resources National Park Service

Historically Black Colleges and Universities Grant Program

Since 1837, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have served the needs of higher education for the African American community. The first HBCUs were established in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Missouri, and Tennessee. After the Civil War there was an influx of HBCU establishment throughout the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwest. Since the 1990s, the National Park Service has awarded over $60 million in grants to over 80 of the remaining active HBCUs. These grants work to preserve the historic structures on HBCU campuses, many of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

When Congress makes appropriations from the Historic Preservation Fund to rehabilitate historic structures on campuses of HBCUs, projects for properties that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places either individually or as contributing to a National Register historic district are eligible to apply for grants. Projects must meet major program selection criteria and all work must meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation.

Applications for $10 million in FY2020 funding will be available in the fall of 2020.

Who May Apply?

When this program is accepting grant applications, only accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities are eligible to apply. For a list of eligible institutions, please visit the National Center for Education Statistics College Navigator database.

Only buildings or structures already listed in the National Register of Historic Places as of the published deadline for submitting grant applications are eligible for a grant award.

What is Funded?

The minimum grant request is $75,000 Federal share. The maximum grant request is $500,000 Federal share. Please note, the selection panel may, at its discretion, award less than the minimum grant request. There is no matching requirement for this grant program.

Preservation projects fund physical preservation of a historic site to include historic districts, buildings, sites, structures, and objects. Projects must comply with Section 106, NEPA, and execute a preservation easement/covenant.

Eligible costs include pre-preservation studies, architectural plans and specifications, historic structure reports, and the repair and rehabilitation of historic properties according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Archeology and Historic Preservation.

What is Not Funded?

  • Construction of new buildings.
  • Acquisition of collections or historic sites.
  • Conservation of collections.
  • Long-term maintenance or curatorial work beyond the grant period.
  • Reconstructing historic properties (recreating all or a significant portion that no longer exists).
  • Moving historic properties or work to moved historic properties that are no longer eligible for listing in the NRHP.
  • Cash reserves, endowments, or revolving funds.
  • Fundraising costs.
  • Work performed prior to announcment of award.

Selection Process

NPS personnel and qualified Federal employees will review all complete proposals using the criteria outlined below. Reviewers’ evaluations are based solely on the material provided in the application. Additional materials not specifically required by the application, and materials sent separately from the application will not be considered. A summary of the review panel comments may be provided to the applicant if requested after the grant process is complete. Panel recommendations will be made to the Secretary of the Interior who will select successful applicants and forward to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. NPS will apply risk assessments to projects recommended for funding. Matching funds were not required, but may be considered as part of the evaluation process.

Evaluation and Selection Criteria

  • Significance: Describe the historic resource(s) in the proposed project and the role they played in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) experience. Discuss National Register significance and the integrity of the resource. Describe how the project will result in the recognition, understanding, and preservation of this and associated resources. (20 points)
  • Severity of Threat to Property: Describe the current condition of the historic property and explain how it is threatened or endangered. The source(s), nature, extent, and severity of the threat, danger, or damage to the property must be clearly and convincingly argued. Discuss how the project is the next logical step toward the resource’s preservation. (20 points)
  • Mitigation of Threat to Property: Project must substantially mitigate or eliminate the threat, danger, or damage described and must have a clear public benefit (for example, historic places open for visitation or public use). Please clearly state what preservation activities will be undertaken as part of this project and address the additonal points outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. (20 points)
  • Feasibility: The project must be feasible (i.e., able to be completed within the proposed activities, schedule, and budget described in the application). The application must also address additional points outlined in the Notice of Funding Opportunity. (20 points)
  • Department Priorities: Describe how your project advances modernizing our infrastructure and restoring trust with local communities. (20 points)

Administrative Funding Requirements

  • The grant period is generally 2 to 3 years.
  • Administrative costs, both direct and pursuant to a current Federally-approved Indirect Cost Rate may be no more than 25% of the total of both the grant and any non-Federal match. The National Historic Preservation Act (54 USC 302902(d)) stipulates this limit. You must include your Federally-approved Indirect Cost Rate Agreement or a letter indicating that your organization has never had a negotiated indirect cost rate and will be using the 10% de minimis rate as specified in 2 CFR 200.
  • Competitive selection of all consultants and contracting is required as stipulated in 2 CFR 200.
  • Maximum hourly rates charged to this grant by personnel and consultants may not exceed 120% of the salary of a Federal Civil Service GS-15, Step 10. Current salary tables can be found on the Office of Personnel Management website
  • Budgeted travel costs must adhere to the mileage and travel rates found at the General Services Administration's travel pages.