The $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill that President Joe Biden signed into law in December earmarks millions of dollars for Baltimore-area colleges and universities.
In total, the Baltimore region will see over $80 million in direct federal investments from the legislation. The money will help universities expand scientific research, train more health care workers and create more opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Morgan State University earned the largest sum of money of any Baltimore institution at just under $5 million. The largest chunk of money to MSU is $2 million earmarked for Morgan State University’s Center for Equitable Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, according to a joint statement from Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.
The center is part of a wave of expansion at MSU. The institution reached a record enrollment of more than 9,000 students and has several student housing projects underway or in planning stages. The new A.I. center comes as the university is competing with other Historically Black Colleges and Universities for a U.S. Air Force-affiliated research center, focused on developing autonomous systems.
Several of the projects funded by the omnibus legislation are meant to expand the health care workforce in Maryland. The region is in desperate need of more health care workers, a shortage that has prompted the creation of two osteopathic medical schools, one in Hagerstown and one in Baltimore on the campus of MSU. The HBCU will use $1.95 million in federal money to create a Master’s Degree in biomedical sciences so students are prepared to attend the new for-profit school on campus.
Notre Dame of Maryland University will also expand its medical programs with a $963,000 influx of federal money. The Baltimore school is in the middle of a strategic shift, with the all-women’s undergraduate program planning to admit men for the first time in the fall of 2023 to deal with sagging enrollment.
Other local education projects that will receive funding from the omnibus legislation include:
- $1.2 million to expand the existing life sciences and health sciences programs at Goucher College in Towson. The college plans to double the number of students who can be admitted into the biology, biochemistry, chemistry, neuroscience, pre-nursing and pre-med programs.
- $1.1 million for the Train the Trainer program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Train the Trainer plans to bring together nonprofit leaders, police officers and social workers to create new violence prevention strategies.
- $1 million to enhance research at Morgan State University’s Patuxent Environmental and Aquatic Research Laboratory in St. Leonard.
- $950,000 to Towson University to recruit students to enter the teaching field. The number of Towson students graduating with an education major has declined by more than 15% and the school hopes to graduate 40-45 additional teachers in the next two years.
- $1.75 million to the Beloved Community Services Corp. to preserve the law office of Juanita Jackson Mitchell, the first African-American woman to graduate from the University of Maryland Carey School of Law and practice in Maryland. The funds will build a satellite office for UMB’s ROAR program to help survivors of crime access legal and mental health services.
- $1 million for the Maryland Institute College of Art for the Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network, a city-wide initiative to expand the local creative economy. The funds will provide mentorship, incubation space and coaching to entrepreneurs.
- $475,000 to Johns Hopkins University to support a program to help Baltimore City seniors age in place.
- $140,000 to Coppin State University to expand teaching and nursing certification support.
- $3 million to I Am Mentality inc. for the B-360 Educational program. The program uses dirt bike culture as a gateway to STEM education for students in Baltimore City. The federal funds will be used to establish a permanent physical location for the nonprofit, expand staffing and purchase equipment for a computer lab.
- $4 million to Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg to expand science technology engineering and math research.
- $1.1 million to the University of Maryland Baltimore County to upgrade the Earth and Space Institute.