Steyer rolls out $125B plan to invest in historically black colleges

Steyer rolls out $125B plan to invest in historically black colleges
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Democratic presidential candidate Tom SteyerTom SteyerYouth voting organization launches M registration effort in key battlegrounds Overnight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline MORE rolled out his $125 billion plan to invest in historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) on Tuesday, marking the largest amount a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate has pledged to invest in the institutions. 

Steyer's campaign said the funds would be distributed over a 10-year period, with $35 billion spent in the first year to deal with infrastructure needs. Ten billion would be spent every year after the first year. 

The plan calls for the creation of an HBCU Board of Regents, which would allow for independent decision making without putting federal dollars at risk. 

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Steyer would also establish HBCU Centers for Innovation with the goal of training students in a number of fields including science and technology, business and health care. 

The billionaire is the latest White House contender to roll out his HBCU plan. Sen. Cory BookerCory BookerPoll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run Five reasons for Biden, GOP to be thankful this season Senators call for Smithsonian Latino, women's museums to be built on National Mall MORE (D-N.J.) announced last week his administration would devote $100 billion to invest in the schools. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo This week: Congress starts year-end legislative sprint Restless progressives eye 2024 MORE (I-Vt.) previously unveiled his $10 billion plan at a campaign rally at Morehouse College, while Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Restless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run MORE (D-Mass.) has proposed investing $50 billion in HBCUs. 

Steyer's announcement comes as he struggles to break into the campaign's top tier. The billionaire was the seventh candidate to qualify for the sixth primary debate. 

He called on the Democratic National Committee to "open up" its debate requirements this week to allow for a more diverse field. 

"Democrats need to engage voters from every part of the country, and that means making sure voters hear from a diverse group of candidates before they select our nominee," Steyer said in a statement.