The Department of Education is likely to come in for some criticism when its own National Advisory Committee on Black Higher Education and Black Colleges and Universities meets early next month -- the department asked for it, and the committee has nothing to lose.
The group, which was formed in 1977 "to examine all approached to higher educations of black Americans," will meet June 1 and 2 in Houston, according to a notice in the April 27 Federal Register (page 23525).High on the agenda, the notice says, is "discussion of a draft position paper on the probable impact of the administration's economic recovery plan on the higher education of blacks. . ."
The draft is not available, but one advisory committe source said recently that the proposed deep cuts in federal grant aid to college students "would affect 90 percent of the students at black colleges." That was said despite the fact that President Reagan during the campaign and Vice President Bush again last week promised an increase in funds for black colleges.
Deep cuts, however, have already been applied to the advisory committee. Its planned $130,000 budget for fiscal 1981 has been slashed 36 percent by the Department of Education to $82,000. That, in turn forced it to reduce its research contracts this year from a planned $54,000 to $17,000. The $100-a-day consulting fee and expenses for the 15 committee members remained unaffected, but no one expects the four-year-old group to exist beyond its present June 1982 expiration.
With that in mind, one source said, there is an expectation that its members will feel free to take advantage of "the Education Department secretary's request we make our views known."