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Saying the United States never lived up to the ideals of the founding fathers that all people are created equal, President Joe Biden said one element of advancing racial equity would be to increase funding for historically Black colleges and universities as well as other minority-serving institutions.

“Just imagine how much more creative and innovative we’d be if this nation held the historically Black colleges and universities to the same … funding and resources of public universities to compete for jobs in industries of the future,” Biden said.

“Just ask the first HBCU graduate elected to vice president if that’s true,” he said of Vice President Kamala Harris, a graduate of Howard University.

Biden made the remarks as he signed a series of executive orders, including those instructing the Justice Department to not renew contracts with for-profit prisons, as well as a memorandum condemning xenophobia against Asians and Pacific Islanders.

The Education Department did not respond to an inquiry asking for more details of Biden’s plans for HBCUs and MSIs. However, during the campaign, he pledged among other things to make the first two years of college at the institutions free; provide $10 billion in funding to increase enrollment, retention, completion and employment rates; and address the historic underfunding of the institutions regarding federal research dollars.