About Us

Historical Overview

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter signed Executive Order 12232, which established a federal program “… to overcome the effects of discriminatory treatment and to strengthen and expand the capacity of historically black colleges and universities to provide quality education.”

In 1981, President Reagan, under Executive Order 12320, established the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which expanded the previous program and set into motion a government wide effort to strengthen our nation’s HBCUs. In 1989, President George Bush signed Executive Order 12677. This executive order established a Presidential Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to advise the president and the secretary of education on methods, programs, and strategies to strengthen these valued institutions.

In 1993, President William Jefferson Clinton signed Executive Order 12876. This executive order required for a senior level executive in each agency have oversight in implementing the order, and that the Office of Management and Budget be involved in monitoring implementation of the order.

On Feb. 12, 2002, President George W. Bush signed Executive Order 13256. This executive order transferred the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to the Office of the Secretary within the U.S. Department of Education. Previously, the White House Initiative was housed in the Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education.

  • President’s Board of Advisors (PBA) on HBCUs
  • Initiative Leadership
  • Federal Agency Partners
  • Intern with the office
  • Interagency Updates (coming soon)

    Student Volunteer Internship Program

    All internships applications should be completed through  the Department of  Education Website: ED Internship Opportuniites


    In order to apply to intern at ED, students must:

    • Be at least 16 years of age.
    • Attend an accredited educational institution, including but not limited to; high school, trade school, technical or vocational institute, junior college, college, university, or graduate school.
      • A recent graduate is ineligible to apply unless he/she can provide confirmed proof of future enrollment.
    • Have permission from the institution at which he/she is currently enrolled to participate in internship program.
    • Be enrolled not less than half time in a course of study related to the work to be performed.

    International Applicants: Individuals who are not U.S. citizens, but who reside in the U.S., may volunteer (1) if they are lawful permanent residents; or (2) if they are non-immigrant aliens with F-1 or J-1 visa status, who are bona fide students residing in the U.S. solely to pursue a course of study at a recognized, approved institution of education.

    How to Apply

    Students must submit three documents before being considered for an interview:

    • A cover letter, stating which particular offices interest you. Keep in mind that due to the volume of applications received, you may not be assigned to your first-choice office upon acceptance.
    • An up-to-date resume.
    • A completed copy of the Internship Application Form.
      • Application Form
        [downloadable files] Word (26K)

    Applicants should send all three aspects of the application in one email to StudentInterns@ed.gov  making sure to specify exactly what term you are applying for.(fall, winter/spring, summer) and ED office (ex: WHite House Inititative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities) you would like to work in.


    Please note that the dates below are approximate. Based on a student’s availability and school schedule, internships can begin or end before or after the dates indicated below.

    • Fall
      • Dates of program: September through December
      • Submission Deadline: July 15
    • Winter/Spring
      • Dates of program: January through May
      • Submission Deadline: October 1
    • Summer
      • Dates of program: May/June through July/August
      • Submission Deadline: March 15