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Virginia governor Ralph Northam proposed $277 million in additional funding to support operational costs and building construction at public historically Black colleges and universities in the state, according to an announcement he made at Norfolk State University Thursday.

His proposed two-year state budget also includes a new HBCU Opportunity Fund to offer scholarships to students attending private HBCUs in Virginia. Virginia Union University and Hampton University together would receive $10 million annually.

“HBCUs have long been underfunded, and we have worked tirelessly over the past four years to fix that,” Northam said in a press release. “We are closing the funding gap and making college more accessible to all Virginians.”

Hakim Lucas, president of Virginia Union University, said in the release that the new funds for private HBCUs would be “a new beginning, and a dramatic step forward.”