A Rise in Support for Historically Black Colleges
By Frank Yin
Recently in the U.S., historically black colleges or H.B.C.U.s, have received more support due to the Black Lives Matter movement and vice president Kamala Harris.
H.B.C.U.s have been lacking support from the beginning of their creation. When slaves were freed, Tuskegee University was built to educate them. However, the college was built by its own students because of the lack of support.
150 years later, H.B.C.U.s still struggle to survive. However, lately, there has been more support and funding for them. Millions and billions of dollars are being donated to these colleges such as Howard University, Clark Atlanta University, and more.
Not only have H.B.C.U.s been receiving funding, but also they are obtaining more resources. Many accomplished scholars have opted to teach at H.B.C.U.s such as 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner, Nikole Hannah Jones.
Some donations H.B.C.U.s have received have been because of the Black Lives Matter movement. George T. French Junior, the president of Clark Atlanta University, recalls reasons for donations, “‘We were disturbed by what happened with George Floyd and other atrocities. And we want to do our part — to say we’re sorry”’.
Vice president Kamala Harris has done her part by teaching others about the value of H.B.C.U.s. She referred to her H.B.C.U., Howard University, as a place that made her who she is. Her message of the impact H.B.C.U.s have on black students may have motivated others to support H.B.C.U.s.
Despite efforts to help H.B.C.U.s, some of these colleges still have many struggles that are forcing them to close. For instance, the graduation rate of H.B.C.U.s is much lower than other colleges. Typically, over 60% of students graduate within 6 years while Cheyney, a H.B.C.U., has a rate of 27%. Many H.B.C.U. students are unable to graduate because of their financial background. The low rates of graduation have caused less funding from the state government. Leaving H.B.C.U.s deciding whether they should merge with other colleges or close.
The future may look bleak for many of these colleges as their rate of decline has become 1.4% a year in 2001. However, President Biden has made a proposal to give 39 billion dollars to help H.B.C.U.s.