White House HBCU Initiative Announces Changes for All-Stars Program

The HBCU All-Star Student Program is currently being redesigned in an effort to streamline its selection and recognition processes.

The changes were announced to current program student ambassadors during a conference call with Department of Education officials. Among the changes will be a new mandate for HBCU presidents & chancellors to select student applicants for the program, replacing the previous process of ED officials soliciting and selecting students in an effort to streamline its processes and to reduce paperwork.

Created in 2014 under the Obama Administration as a recognition program for HBCU undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrated leadership and academic excellence on campus, the Initiative has tapped more than 290 students from HBCUs nationwide to serve as HBCU liaisons for community outreach initiatives and within federal agencies.

The program drew controversy in 2017 when a group of ambassadors joined HBCU advocates and presidents in calling for the postponement of the ED’s annual HBCU conference, citing a failure of the Trump Administration to appoint a permanent executive director for the position, and a perceived lack of engagement with HBCU campuses.

Jonathan Holifield was named as the head of the initiative in September, but the Initiative has continued to attract the ire of HBCU leaders and stakeholders for a lack of voice on critical issues concerning funding and advocacy with lawmakers and agency heads for HBCU inclusion.

The 2018 White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges & Universities Conference will be held September 16-19, 2018 in Washington, DC. The initiative will release its application for student ambassadors next week.