While some institutions of higher education have had to work hard to create an inclusive culture that welcomes students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have always had open doors.
In these times of uncertainty on the role and impact of institutions of higher education, HBCUs are continuing their long history of welcoming diverse students. Yes, these colleges and universities were established to educate formerly enslaved people following America’s Civil War, and to offset the closed doors in the larger educational system. And their student bodies, faculty, and staff have always been diverse. Today they continue their focus on serving both the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Graduates of these institutions have been the catalyst that built and sustains the Black middle class. Their doors are open to you as a graduating high school student, a graduating college student seeking a graduate or professional degree, and to you the person who always wanted a college or graduate degree.
Here are a few things to consider as shared by UNCF, the United Negro College Fund. “Though HBCUs make up only three percent of the country’s colleges and universities, they enroll 10% of all African American students and produce almost 20% of all African American graduates. HBCUs actively work to address the financial obstacles Black students face. On average, the cost of attendance at an HBCU is 28% less than attending a comparable non-HBCU. Forty percent of HBCU students report feeling financially secure during college, as opposed to 29% of Black students at other schools.
“These students have an advantage long past graduation. A whopping 25% of African American graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs. Eight HBCUs were among the top 20 institutions to award the most science and engineering bachelor’s degrees to Black graduates from 2008-2012. An HBCU graduate can expect to earn an additional $927,000 in their lifetime, which is 56% more than they could expect to earn without their HBCU degrees or certificates. From start to finish, an HBCU education is a setup for success.”
InsideTrack, a nonprofit that provides individualized coaching to students at many HBCUs shares yet another definition of success in a recent article. “Yet these statistics, while impressive, only tell part of the HBCU story. Belonging, acceptance and inclusion are core strengths of HBCUs. These proud and storied institutions are rooted in faith, community and service. While HBCUs provide a stable and nurturing environment for all students, they are especially adept at supporting low-income, first-generation college students — the students most at risk of either not entering college at all or not completing their degree. Many of these students are academically underprepared for college, yet they’re precisely the students the country needs to obtain college degrees.”
HBCUs are a healthy choice, an alternative for all students to consider. Join the ranks of those who chose an HBCU: Martin Luther King, Jr., Vice President Kamala Harris, and artists/producers/influencers Wanda Sykes, Toni Braxton, Lionel Richie, Spike Lee, and Stephen A. Smith to name only a few.
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