Graduation And Enrollment Rates At HBCUs Are On The Decline
The state of historically Black colleges and universities appears to be on a dramatic decline. Graduation rates are faltering, and funds within the institution look bleak.
In an article for Newsweek titled “Black Colleges Matter,” author Alexander Nazaryan explores the plight of the historic institutions.
Via Essence Magazine:
Graduation rates at HBCUs are on the decline.
Last year, the average graduation rate at a four-year HBCU hovered around 59 percent. Though higher than that national average for Black students at non-HBCUs, no HBCU saw graduation rates above 70 percent (Spelman was the highest at 69 percent, followed by Howard with 65 percent. Comparatively, Harvard, Amherst College, Swarthmore, Yale and Princeton all saw graduation rates topping 90 percent). More so, half of the nation’s HBCUs had rates below 34 percent.
Fewer students are choosing to attend HBCUs.
In the days of Jim Crow, Black students typically only had one choice when seeking higher education: Apply to an HBCU. Even in the decades following the Civil Rights Movement, 80 percent of African-Americans were opting to attend one. However, those numbers have fallen drastically since the 80s (HBCUs saw a spike after A Different World worked a fictional HCBU into its storyline). Nowadays, only 9 percent of Black students are choosing to attend an HBCU.
Experts believe our post-racial society is to blame for HBCUs’ downfall.
The article points out that many Americans tend to think that we are living in a post-racial society. When Black high school students can choose between an HBCU that might be struggling and an Ivy League institution, Nazaryan notes that many will choose the latter. Additionally, with African-Americans like President Obama, Loretta Lynch, Shonda Rhimes and Eric Holder—none of whom attended HBCUs—in power, younger generations don’t feel a pressing need for the schools.
So what is the good news? HBCUs still produce some of the nation’s top Black professionals.
Black colleges produce 70 percent of all black dentists and doctors, 50 percent of black engineers and public school teachers, and 35 percent of black lawyers. And while HBCUs account for only 3 percent of the nation’s colleges, they account for about 20 percent of the degrees awarded to African-Americans.
Do HBCUs still serve a purpose in our modern day society or should there be a collective movement to get Black youth to understand the importance of historically Black colleges and universities?