The president of Howard University argues that “it is a danger to the national interest to not invest in these institutions.”
A question that leads most conversations about historically black colleges goes something like this: The purpose of black colleges was clear before Brown v. Board of Education, but now that black students can attend any college, why are these schools still necessary?
A few statistics give a rather clear answer. Despite the fact that black colleges (often referred to as HBCUs, or historically black colleges and universities) account for just 3 percent of four-year nonprofit colleges, their alumni account for roughly 80 percent of black judges and 50 percent of black lawyers and doctors, and their students account for 25 percent of black undergraduates who earn degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Even so, many of the institutions are struggling financially. Bennett College, an HBCU for women in North Carolina, recently launched a successful flash-fundraising drive to fight to retain its accreditation, which was ultimately rescinded anyway. (The university filed a lawsuit against its accreditor and retains accreditation while the case works its way through the courts.) The institutions often struggle to marshal the so-called transformational donations that other institutions receive, and public HBCUs, in particular, have been historically underfunded by state governments.
[Featured Image: KRISTOFFER TRIPPLAAR]