Morgan Stanley has announced a new extension of its long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion with its new initiative aimed at HBCUs.

The leading global financial services firm has launched the Morgan Stanley HBCU Scholars program, an integrated program designed to strategically eliminate financial barriers for HBCU students seeking higher education at Howard University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College over the next four years.

The Morgan Stanley HBCU Scholars program wants to increase students’ financial independence with academic and need-based scholarships that will cover the entire cost of tuition and living expenses for selected students across all disciplines and majors.

According to a press release, the $12 million initiative will support a total of 60 full scholarships for these students and support their skills through a career-readiness program to set them up for the path of success.

“[HCBUs] are an essential part of the fabric of higher education because of the contribution they make to diversifying so many fields,” Wayne A.I. Frederick, president of Howard University, said in a press interview last year. “It’s a danger to the national interest not to invest in these institutions.”

The financial firm’s financial commitment to its three participating HBCUs demonstrates the company’s larger mission to “create an integrated, holistic and transparent diversity and inclusion strategy, both internally and externally.”

“The most significant challenge many of our brilliant Spelman students face is the financial barrier to college completion,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell — Ph.D., president of Spelman — in a statement. “Through academic research, innovations and advocacy, our students are already working on advanced solutions to some of the world’s most difficult issues. We greatly appreciate the generous support from Morgan Stanley, which will allow our change agents to graduate debt free and pursue opportunities that will have a significant impact on society.”

The first cohort for the program will consist of a total of 15 scholars among the three schools, a press release reports, and a new group will be added each year until the class size for the program reaches 60 students from all three institutions by its fourth year.

“To close the racial wealth gap, we know that Black academic and economic advancement is essential. Racial inequity around access to and affordability of higher education can impact Black students ability to grow generational wealth,” said Susan Reid, Morgan Stanley’s global head of diversity and inclusion, in a statement. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities continue to lead the way in leveling the playing field while creating an environment for students of color to thrive. We are proud to support them and their students and we look forward to this deeper journey with Spelman, Morehouse and Howard.”

For more information on the program, click here.