Maryland has finalized a $577 million settlement to end a 15-year federal lawsuit relating to underfunding at the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities, state officials announced Wednesday.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office signed the agreement with attorneys for the plaintiffs to settle the case. Lawmakers passed legislation earlier this year to set aside the money, and Gov. Larry Hogan signed the bill last month.
“This settlement marks an historic investment in Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” Attorney General Brian Frosh said. “It will enable these valued institutions to expand their academic reach and to assist thousands of students with getting the education they deserve.”
The lawsuit dating to 2006 accused Maryland of underfunding these institutions while developing programs at traditionally white schools that directly competed with them, draining away prospective students. In 2013, a federal judge found that the state had maintained “a dual and segregated education system” that violated the Constitution.