Monthly Archives: September 2014

  • 0

February News

Fayetteville State Nursing Program Returning To Health

— Graduates of the revived nursing program at Fayetteville State University have aced the state licensing exam.

Fayetteville State suspended its bachelor degree nursing program in 2009 because of consistently poor performance by students on state exams. Chancellor James Anderson then set out to revamp the program, bringing in new leadership, state-of-the-art equipment such as patient mannequins and an emphasis on skills development and academic needs of students.

The nursing program was restarted in fall 2011, and its first 15 graduates all passed the licensing exam on their first try.

Afua Arhin, chairwoman of Fayetteville State’s Department of Nursing, said she’s not surprised by the results after she beefed up the curriculum and demanded more from her students.

“I know it’s a lot of expectation and pressure on them, but I really do believe that, if they spend the money and we’ve given them what it is they need, the expectation is that they have to pass,” Arhin said Friday.

Hiring faculty who care about student success also was key to the turnaround, she said.

“When you have the faculty, that’s half the battle,” she said. “We have great faculty, we have great staff and we expect the students to do well because everybody’s giving 150 percent.”

Nursing instructor Julia Kane said student success is part of the mindset of everyone associated with the program.

“Every student has the possibility to succeed, and every faculty believes that, and we’re going to work very hard to make sure that they do,” Kane said.

Jessica Cosey, a retired soldier who has her sights set on becoming a nurse, watched the death and rebirth of the Fayetteville State nursing program while stationed at Fort Bragg.

“I watched the process and saw all the communications and all the things they were doing to change it, to bring it up, and when I came, it seemed like they were ready to go, and I’m ready to be a nurse,” Cosey said.

A first-year student in the nursing program, she is confident she and her fellow students will continue the path of success charted by the initial graduating class.

“We will be prepared from Fayetteville State,” she said. “It’s not an easy task to pass the basic classes, so once you get into the nursing program, I’m sure you’ll have the study habits and skills to be successful if you want to be.”


The First Black Owned and Operated HBCU

Founded in 1865, Wilberforce University was established near Xenia, Ohio as a joint venture between the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) and the Methodist Episcopal Church. Named after the 18th century abolitionist William Wilberforce, it was the first black owned and operated historically black university in the United States. Built to support the abolitionist cause and to impart education to African Americans, it welcomes students of all faiths, colors, races, and national and ethnic origin.

Due to the hardships resulting from the American Civil War, the university was forced to shut down temporarily in 1862. But due to the efforts of Bishop Daniel A. Payne, the African Methodist Episcopal Church acquired its ownership and reopened it as a private university in 1863. Payne then became the university’s first president and built a team of diverse faculty to provide trainings in the fields of teaching, theology, and law. It was the first black owned university to have a military training program. And over the course of its history, Wilberforce University has attracted leading black intellectuals, such as Richard R. Wright and W. E. B. Du Bois, to its faculty.

Today, it is a fully accredited, four-year coed, liberal arts historically black university (HBCU) and offers more than twenty degree programs and awards leading to Bachelor of Science, Arts, and Master degrees. Wilberforce is also one of only two four-year universities in the nation that insists on a compulsory participation in the cooperative education program in its graduation requirements. The university has experienced steady growth over the last few decades, and is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is affiliated with many collegiate organizations and associations, including the United Negro College Fund. Prominent alumni includes composer William Grant Still and educator Hallie Quinn Brown.

About Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University was founded in 1856 on a relatively radical principle for mid-19th Century America: to provide African-Americans, many who were fleeing slavery, with a quality, advanced education. It was a progressive concept that has evolved to inspire its current students to become innovators and entrepreneurs. Known today as the first predominantly African-American private university in the nation, it welcomes students of all faiths, races, colors, and national and ethnic origins. The school is regionally accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church as well as many collegiate organizations and associations, including the United Negro College Fund. For more information, visit


Gentrification Is the Real Scandal Surrounding Jackie Robinson West

The Jackie Robinson West Little League baseball team celebrates the US Little League Championship. Little League International has stripped Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West team of its national title after finding the team falsified its boundary map. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The fact that United States Little League baseball champs Jackie Robinson West have been stripped of their 2014 title, for using “players who live outside the geographic area that the team represents” is a slap in the face to everyone trying to keep baseball, a sense of community and even public education alive in the cities of the United States. This would read like scabrous satire from the pen of a writer whose DNA was part Runyon and part Baldwin if not for the fact that there are very real children being victimized by this decision in the city of Chicago.

But before we dissect just what exactly is so pugnaciously ignorant about the actions of Little League Inc., a brief request for sportscasters like ESPN’s Karl Ravech to refrain from further comment. This morning, Ravech tweeted, “Beyond unfortunate that few in JRW Little League deemed winning at all costs outweighed fair play. Kids caught in middle of childish adults.”

ESPN both through game broadcasts and breathless SportsCenter coverage of the Little League World Series has made the conscious choice to be a cog in the professionalization of youth sports. They are obviously not alone in this, but anyone who monetizes the amateur experiences of children and then gets moralistic about those breaking the rules needs at bare minimum to choose silence as this story unfolds. These are kids, and the intensity that surrounds this story is partially a function of ESPN’s choice to cover Jackie Robinson West like they were the 1998 Yankees. It would be a better look for Ravech and company to either not comment or own their complicity.

As for the decision itself, ironies abound. Jackie Robinson West was the first entirely black team to represent the United States in the Little League World Series. And yes, waiting until Black History Month to strip JRW of their title is at best tin-eared. But that insult shouldn’t blind us to the greater injury. Recall their damnable offense: Jackie Robinson West didn’t use 16-year-old ringers or cork their bats. They had players suit up who lived “beyond their geographical boundary.” The fact that the adults in charge of JRW felt the need to breach this rule perhaps has something to do with the fact that today’s urban landscape supports baseball about as well as concrete makes proper soil for orchids. A plurality of Major Leaguers is made up of people from either the US suburbs or the baseball factories of the Dominican Republic. Many of the few African-American players on Major League rosters actually come from the suburbs. This is because twenty-first-century neoliberal cities have gentrified urban black baseball to death. Boys and Girls Clubs have become bistros. Baseball fields are condos and in many cities, Little League is non-existent. The public funds for the infrastructure that baseball demands simply do not exist, but the land required for diamonds are the crown jewels of urban real estate. That’s what made JRW such a profound anomaly. In Chicago particularly, which under Mayor Rahm Emanuel has seen school closures and brutal cuts to physical education programs, their success made people believe that—with apologies to Tupac—flowers could in fact grow in concrete.

I reached out to Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey who said to me, “Mayor Rahm closed half a dozen schools in Jackie Robinson West’s part of the city, and tried to close the school, Marcus Garvey, where the founder of JRW—Joe Haley—worked. Then Chicago Public Schools cut funding for high school freshman sports, laid off a thousand teachers. CPS put forty kids in physical education classes and doesn’t even put a librarian in most of the school libraries in [the South Side district of] Auburn Gresham.”

Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

As for the Little League seizing JRW’s championship, Sharkey said he stands with the statement of Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, who said, in part:

To strip Jackie Robinson West of its title nearly six months after securing the win tarnishes the efforts of our children who have dodged bullets, school closings and reductions in their school athletic programs in order to compete and win on the playing field…. I remain proud of our students securing their place in history as the first all-African-American Little League team to win the coveted Little League national championship. It is not lost on my community that they are named for a sports and civil rights icon that also had to break down barriers of racial hatred, segregation and the 1 percent’s total disregard for his right to exist as a human being. Jackie Robinson West should retain its title, be issued an apology, and every player should receive full-ride scholarships for college sponsored by the people who have humiliated these boys, their families and their community.

Jackie Robinson himself once commented, “I won’t ‘have it made’ until the most underprivileged Negro in Mississippi can live in equal dignity with anyone else in America.” Little League Inc. is attempting to separate the children in Jackie Robinson West not only from their title but from their dignity. It is beneath contempt. It is also beyond their power. At a press conference held Wednesday, JRW player Brandon Green said, “We weren’t involved in anything that could have caused us to be stripped of our championship, But we do know that we’re champions, our parents know that we’re champions, and the team’s parents know that we’re champions, and Chicago knows we’re champions.” Damn right.


Gov. Haslam’s Budget Would Extend Tennessee Promise

Gov. Haslam’s Budget Would Extend Tennessee Promise

February 13, 2015

Tennessee’s governor, Bill Haslam, this week unveiled several higher education proposals as part of his budget plan. He included $1.5 million for a pilot program to offer a version of the state’s free community college scholarship to adult students. Qualifying adults will be more than halfway to an associate degree in previously earned credits, said Mike Krause, the executive director of the Tennessee Promise program. Like traditional-aged students, they would get two years of free tuition at community colleges. Haslam, a Republican, called for another $1.5 million for adult students to receive similar scholarships to attend one of Tennessee’s 27 colleges of technology.

Krause said the governor’s budget plan would include $2.5 million to expand a successful remedial education program, which brings community college faculty members into public high schools. The program, which is dubbed Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support (SAILS), would reach 18,000 students this year. Krause said the state had seen a 4 percent decline in students with remedial needs in recent years.G

Under funding of Hispanic-Serving Institutions continues in President Obama’s proposed budget

Member AdvisoryFebruary 15, 2015Underfunding of Hispanic-Serving Institutions continues in President Obama’s proposed budgetThe Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) is urging Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) and emerging HSIs and its supporters to convene in Washington, D.C. for its 20th Capitol Forum on March 23-24, 2015, where important budgetary issues and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) will be discussed. Delegations from colleges and universities will visit Capitol Hill to meet with key members of congress to help make the case for Hispanic higher education. HACU DC office is coordinating the Capitol Hill visits as representatives of institutions register for the two day Capitol Forum.

“It’s important that we urge the 114th Congress to improve on the President’s level-funding request and make the necessary national investments in institutional aid and STEM education,” said HACU President and CEO Antonio R. Flores.Earlier this month, when President Obama released his proposed budget for 2016 fiscal year, Flores stated that HSIs are not being funded accordingly.“President Obama’s budget request for fiscal year 2016 fails to recommend much-needed funding increases for Hispanic-Serving Institutions.There’s an inequality when we consider that HSIs on average only receive 69 cents in federal funding on a per student basis for every dollar going to the rest of higher education. This inequity stands to worsen as more HSIs become eligible for the scarce and stagnating funding provided by Title V of the Higher Education Act and by the Farm Bill for them to serve the educational needs of their burgeoning student populations.

The National Science Foundation unwillingness to establish an institutional development aid program for HSIs even though Congress gave it the statutory authority is also an issue.”

The President’s budget proposal calls for an increase of $3.6 billion in funding for the Department of Education, an increase of 5.4 percent over FY 2015. Yet there is no proposal for new undergraduate resources for HSIs, one of the fastest-growing segments of higher education. The Promoting Post-baccalaureate Opportunities for Hispanic Americans program would receive a proposed $1.7 million increase to complete current awards but, with no further funds allotted, no new awards are expected to be made in the coming fiscal year. With the 2014 loss of over $10 million in funding previously mandatory, the support for graduate programs at HSIs is far below its original level.

Flores notes the Department of Education stated in its budget justification to Congress: “Although Hispanics have made significant gains in education, their enrollment rates and degree attainment remain lower than many of their non-Hispanic peers.” However, the President’s Budget does not request additional resources to address this persisting education gap.

The National Science Foundation also continues to resist creating an HSI-dedicated program even though it acknowledges in its budget justification: “A significant obstacle to the development of U.S. STEM talent is undergraduate student retention. Across STEM fields, non-Asian racial and ethnic groups continue to be underrepresented in bachelor’s degree attainment relative to their shares of the population.” It also recognizes that “As the Nation’s demographics shift rapidly, it is even more crucial to ensure the engagement of people from groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in STEM so that the diverse talent of the Nation is fully utilized.”

However, the NSF fails to provide dedicated and targeted resources to all the institutions that are enrolling these underrepresented students. According to Flores, the NSF will not be able to meet its mission ‘To promote the progress of science…’ if it continues to ignore HSIs and the hundreds of Hispanic communities they serve.

“From 2012 to 2013 alone, the most recent year for which federal data exists, 39 new HSIs emerged and joined the 370 already eligible, an annual growth rate of over 10 percent. These 409 institutions in 21 states and Puerto Rico serve the overwhelming majority of the 3 million Hispanic students in college today that are America’s future workforce. Overall, the proposed FY 2016 budget represents a net loss to the much-needed investment in the institutions that are educating almost 60 percent of Hispanic higher education students. It is imperative that Congress invest in HSIs equitably for the good of the nation and our economy,” said Flores.

Capitol Forum is only 5 weeks away – Register Today.
Program Advertising
Extended Ad Reservation deadline: Wednesday, Feb. 18, 3 p.m. CST.
Artwork deadline: Friday, Feb. 20.

Capitol Forum Agenda / Hotel / RegistrationSponsorship Opportunities   


This message was sent to by:
Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities
8415 Datapoint Drive, Suite 400
San Antonio, TX 78229
(210) 692-3805

This e-mail and any attachments are intended only for use by the addressee(s) named herein and may contain legally privileged and/or confidential information. If you are not the intended recipient of this e-mail, you are hereby notified any dissemination, distribution or copying of this e-mail, and any attachments thereto, is strictly prohibited. If you received this e-mail in error, please notify the sender and delete this e-mail from your syste

NC HBCUs struggle with finances, enrollment

Stanley B. Chambers Jr.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Adrian Shaw decided to enroll at St. Augustine’s University despite the turmoil that has surrounded the historically black school in Raleigh.

A scathing financial audit and a tumultuous change in leadership were not deterrents for Shaw. His stepfather, Reginald Towns, has worked at St. Augustine’s since 2007, and his mother, Angela Towns, earned her bachelor’s degree through the school’s Gateway Lifelong Learning Program in 2002.

“Things happen,” said Shaw, 20, a freshman. “You can’t really judge the school for certain things that happen. I feel like things are going to turn around for the school, hopefully within the next year or two or three.”

Administrators at many historically black colleges and universities across the country are working to recruit more students like Shaw – who see value in the rich tradition of HBCUs – while struggling with dwindling resources and ongoing troubles that threaten their schools’ very existence.

Continuing enrollment declines have led to tuition revenue losses in the millions for North Carolina’s HBCUs, forcing them to fight for survival.

Overall, fall full-time student enrollment fell 7 percent between 2010 and 2013, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Education. This comes after enrollment increased 12 percent between 2004 and 2009.

While the enrollment drop seems nominaleach HBCU in North Carolina has nearly 11,000 students at the most. So, losing a few hundred students has a significant impact on a school’s bottom line.

For one university, it also placed them in the crosshairs of legislators.

Lawmakers created a budget provision last year to study closing Elizabeth City State University, where student enrollment fell 27 percent since 2010 – the steepest drop among all North Carolina public universities. Opposition from black lawmakers and community leaders in Elizabeth City led to the provision’s removal.

HBCUs often accept students from low-income backgrounds, or who are not academically prepared for college, in hopes of nurturing them into productive adults.

But the tightening of credit requirements for federal loans, along with increased academic standards for University of North Carolina System schools, have contributed to enrollment declines at public black colleges in the state.

Private HBCUs haven’t fared much better. Shaw University, which was $20 million in debt, was bolstered by a $31 million federal loan in 2009. But enrollment fell 24 percent at the Raleigh school between 2010 and 2013, the second-steepest decline among all North Carolina HBCUs.

A renaissance period

While talking about his own school, Rodney Gaddy, chairman of St. Augustine’s board of trustees, described the nationwide HBCU situation as “precarious.”

Despite St. Augustine’s troubles, Adrian Shaw is very optimistic about his school’s future.

After a few months on campus, Shaw described the vibe among students as “very positive” and “upbeat.”

The optimism was a welcome change for the private university after a turbulent start to 2014.

In January, St. Aug’s was required to pay overtime to current and former employees after the U.S. Department of Labor found it failed to do so. In February, an audit detailed the university’s financial troubles, including a contractor suing for money owed for work on the school’s unfinished football stadium.

In April, after a number of top administrators were removed, school president Diane Bordley Suber announced her retirement while the school’s board of trustees simultaneously voted to fire her. Suber was notified of her dismissal the next day.

St. Aug’s troubles shocked and disappointed many alumni, said Patty Jackson-Brown, the school’s alumni association president.

“If we had been knowledgeable of some of the things that were going on, and had perhaps some input, I believe the outcome could have been different,” she said. “But we didn’t have any input. We found out about it when it was published. That was not good for us. Supporting the university the way we had supported the university, we felt we should have known what was going on. We were denied that, and that did not sit well with us.”

Last year, the U.S. Department of Education began investigating an allegation that St. Aug’s provided false information on a federal grant proposal. The department last week would not comment on whether the investigation has been resolved.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which accredits the university, also has requested information regarding the school’s finances.

Even with the challenges, St. Augustine’s surpassed its goal of 1,000 new students for the fall, university officials said. The school did not disclose its fall enrollment numbers.

“I believe good things are going to happen for this school,” said Shaw, the student.

Sharing his optimism is Everett Ward, the school’s interim president.

As a toddler growing up in Raleigh’s Biltmore Hills neighborhood, Ward remembers his grandmother’s stories about how his great uncle paid off his St. Augustine’s tuition by helping build the former St. Agnes Hospital, which was owned by the school. Ward was later born in the facility.

His father, William Henry “Bone” Ward, attended the school and played on the basketball team. After graduation, he started a concrete business and poured many of the school’s sidewalks.

Everett Ward enrolled at the school in 1977, following his sister, then a St. Augustine’s senior. He became freshman class president, met his wife, Cassandra, and was mentored by Prezell R. Robinson, St. Augustine’s president at the time, and James Alexander Boyer, a professor who also became school president.

Now leading his alma mater, Ward says his school is being revitalized.

“We believe that the renaissance is here,” he said. “And if you study the period of a renaissance, it’s a long period. But you keep growing and you keep producing, and that’s what we’re going to do here at St. Augustine’s.”

Growth has not come without cuts, including the elimination of 43 positions, two weeklong furloughs, no adjunct professors and the conversion of some staffers from a 12-month to a 10-month schedule.

The university has also streamlined its academic focus into four areas – mass communications and journalism, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), criminal justice and public health.

But Ward is also thinking long term. Along with new academic buildings and a larger convocation facility, he wants to revive St. Agnes as a public health center. Founded in 1896, the facility grew into the largest medical center for African-Americans between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. It closed in 1961 after the Wake County Medical Center, now WakeMed, opened.

A partnership between Coldwell Banker Commercial Trademark Properties, Rex Healthcare and St. Augustine’s to revitalize St. Agnes was announced in 2012, but the project’s partners later decided to wait until the university was financially stable.

An announcement is expected on the project within the next few months, said Ward, who didn’t offer specifics. A weed-filled stone shell of the former hospital currently stands adjacent to the university, but the land surrounding the building has been cleared recently.

“To sit on my grandmother’s knee and to hear her talk about how St. Augustine’s, and that opportunity for her brother, transformed our family, and what a quality education meant for all of us for future generations – to see that hospital active again would mean more to me personally than anyone can imagine,” he said.

Jackson-Brown, the alumni association president, said many of the organization’s 700-plus members want Ward to become the school’s permanent leader.

Ward has been more inclusive of alumni, even creating a special committee of alums to get their feedback regarding the university, she said.

The university also recently established a faculty senate, which is the first in the institution’s 147-year history. The 11-member board will advise Ward on issues of interest and concern to faculty and will help include professors in decisions impacting the school.

Ward hasn’t decided whether to stay after his contract expires in October, but he said, “I will do whatever is necessary for the betterment of St. Augustine’s.”

Shaw hopes Ward, who has become a mentor to him, stays on at the school. They talk two or three times a week, he said.

“It gives me a sense of enlightenment knowing I have a president who cares about my education and who wants to see me do well in life and do anything it takes to help me reach my goals,” he said. “It make me feel empowered and motivated. We speak on a personal level as opposed to a student-principal relationship.”

HBCUs vulnerable, but needed

St. Augustine’s, like most North Carolina HBCUs, is recovering from serious enrollment declines.

Between 2010 and 2013, fall full-time student enrollment increased at only three of the state’s 11 HBCUs – Fayetteville State University (7 percent), Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte (4 percent) and Livingstone College in Salisbury (2 percent), according to current numbers from the U.S. Department of Education.

North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro (-2 percent) and North Carolina Central University in Durham (-6 percent) are the only HBCUs whose enrollment declines didn’t reach double digits, according to federal numbers.

North Carolina’s other HBCUs fared worse: Bennett College in Greensboro (-13 percent); St. Augustine’s (-14 percent); Winston-Salem State University (-15 percent); Shaw University (-24 percent); and Elizabeth City State University (-27 percent).

Federal enrollment data was not available for Barber-Scotia College in Concord because the school lost its accreditation in 2004 after failing to provide accurate information to accreditation officials. Unaccredited schools cannot receive federal financial aid funds.

Enrollment data for NC HBCUs 2010-13:

[          ]

School 2010 2011 2012 2013 % difference
Barber-Scotia College*
Bennett College for Women 780 736 707 680 -13%
Elizabeth City State Univeristy 3,307 2,930 2,878 2,421 -27%
Fayetteville State University 5,781 5,930 6,060 6,179 +7%
Johnson C. Smith University 1,331 1,543 1,669 1,387 +4%
Livingstone College 1,156 1,140 1,111 1,175 +2
North Carolina A&T State University 10,793 10,881 10,636 10,561 -2%
North Carolina Central University 8,645 8,359 8,604 8,093 -6%
St. Augustine’s Univeristy 1,508 1,506 1,442 1,299 -14%
Shaw University 2,722 2,405 2,183 2,062 -24%
Winston-Salem State University 6,333 6,163 5,689 5,399 -15%
Total 42356 41593 40979 39256 -7%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics’ Data Feedback Reports

*Barber-Scotia College lost its accreditation in 2004 and is unable to receive federal financial aid funds.

After credit requirements were tightened for federal Parent PLUS loans in 2011, the number of students attending HBCUs with these loans dropped 45 percent the following year, according to the United Negro College Fund, which provides scholarships to students at 37 HBCUs nationwide, including St. Augustine’s.

The changes were made because many of the loans were in default, said Marybeth Gasman, director of the Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania, which advocates for HBCUs.

“The problem is that no one gave higher education a heads up that those changes were coming so that they can plan,” she said. “So, HBCUs really couldn’t plan for those changes, which put them in a really difficult position.”

HBCUs, like most small colleges and universities, have difficulty recovering from large student declines due to their small endowments, and that leaves them heavily dependent on tuition dollars, said Richard Kent Vedder, an economics professor at Ohio University who believes HBCUs need to change how they operate.

“The stronger HBCUs – Morehouse and Spellman, Howard – they probably will survive and do reasonably well,” he said. “Unfortunately, there’s a disproportionate number of them that are in the category of low graduation rates, low endowments, limited alumni support, limited state support, that are really going to have to merge with other schools or go out of business or radically change their model. And whether that works or not, I don’t know.”

On average, the full-time student retention rate for North Carolina HBCUs remained above 50 percent between 2010 and 2013, but graduation rates during that span were far lower, according to federal numbers.

NC HBCU Retention Rates 2010-13:

[          ]






North Carolina A&T State University 72% 74% 74% 80% 75%
Barber-Scotia College*
Elizabeth City State Univeristy 74% 77% 79% 72% 76%
Fayetteville State University 69% 70% 76% 71% 72%
Johnson C. Smith University 70% 74% 72% 56% 53%
Livingstone College 56% 51% 48% 53% 52%
Bennett College for Women 71% 73% 58% 61% 66%
North Carolina Central University 69% 68% 71% 73% 70%
St. Augustine’s Univeristy 50% 51% 46% 61% 52%
Shaw University 56% 48% 39% 43% 47%
Winston-Salem State University 77% 80% 78% 75% 78%
YEARLY AVERAGE 66% 67% 64% 65%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics’ Data Feedback Reports

*Barber-Scotia College lost its accreditation in 2004 and is unable to receive federal financial aid funds.

At 27 percent, Livingstone College’s average graduation rate ranked the lowest. St. Augustine’s was second from the bottom at 28 percent; Shaw was at 29 percent.

Despite its enrollment woes, Elizabeth City’s 43 percent graduation rate ranked the best among the state’s HBCUs.

When compared against North Carolina HBCUs, graduation rates for a sample of similarly sized schools nationwide were higher by about 8 percent, according to federal data.

NC HBCU Graduation Rates 2010-13:

[          ]

School 2010 2011 2012 2013 Average
Barber-Scotia College*
Bennett College for Women 47% 39% 37% 44% 42%
Elizabeth City State Univeristy 42% 44% 43% 42% 43%
Fayetteville State University 34% 31% 31% 32% 32%
Johnson C. Smith University 39% 37% 42% 44% 41%
Livingstone College 35% 28% 23% 20% 27%
North Carolina A&T State University 38% 41% 43% 43% 41%
North Carolina Central University 38% 38% 43% 40% 40%
St. Augustine’s Univeristy 23% 23% 35% 29% 28%
Shaw University 29% 29% 26% 30% 29%
Winston-Salem State University 36% 41% 40% 46% 41%
YEARLY AVERAGE 36% 35% 36% 37%

Source: National Center for Education Statistics’ Data Feedback Reports

*Barber-Scotia College lost its accreditation in 2004 and is unable to receive federal financial aid funds.

HBCUs’ low graduation rates are directly tied to accepting students who are not prepared for college work, but taking in these students is needed, Gasman said.

“Is North Carolina State University or UNC going to take in those students,” she asked. “Where do those students go? Do we not want to educate them? Do we just save education for the middle class and the upper income students? Sometimes I think people, that’s what they want to do. They just want to give opportunities to people who already have them.”

But maintaining schools with low graduation rates and declining enrollment isn’t fiscally sound, Vedder said.

“In many ways (HBCUs) were noble institutions, attempting to provide an education to a group of society that was basically under-represented in higher education,” he said. “Whether that justifies in providing perpetual funding, it seems to me that this probably needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis. As a school with a graduation rate of less than 30 percent, you might ask the question, is it right to send kids to a school for four, five, six years and some don’t get a degree? Are we enhancing their misery and reducing their status?”

Gasman argues HBCUs are worth keeping, especially in light of grand jury decisions in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., last year not to indict two white officers in the deaths of black men whom police were attempting to detain.

“Oddly enough, HBCUs are probably more relevant right now, given the way that many African-Americans are being treated,” she said. “I think majority institutions, there are a lot of them that do a very good job, but I do know that sometimes African-Americans feel that they’re in a hostile environment at some majority institutions.”

Some may describe HBCUs as being financially poor, but Gasman said they have “immense human resources.”

“I think that really makes a difference,” she said.

But to survive, HBCUs need to reinvent themselves, Vedder said.

“Why aren’t you broadening your scope to make a bigger attempt to get other students?” he asked. “White students, Asian students, Hispanic students, first generational college students of other races, as a way to expand their pool?”

Near the chopping block

Ashley Lewis wanted to attend a North Carolina HBCU, but didn’t want to follow her high school classmates.

The Myrtle Beach, S.C., native chose Elizabeth City State University after an uncle who attended the school suggested the institution to her.

“The experience. Just being around people, it made me feel comfortable because my high school…it was a (majority) white school and I felt out of place,” she said. “So, it’s kind of like coming home.”

Lewis, 23, lived on campus when the school was rocked with one scandal after another in 2013, including allegations that more than 120 crime complaints dating back to 2007 went uninvestigated by campus police and an audit that showed the school improperly paid $140,000 in international phone calls.

By fall 2013, enrollment fell by 457 students, dropping the school from its enrollment peak of 3,307 in 2010 to 2,421.

The decline was noticeable on campus.

“When I first came in 2009, all the dorms were open and it was an overflow, so they had to place students in a hotel a couple of blocks away,” said Lewis, who transferred to Fayetteville State University, another HBCU, in 2013 to be closer to her son. “It seemed like every year, another dorm was closing down. And now it’s to the point that four dorms are closed and all because there aren’t enough students.”

In May 2014, a provision added to the Senate version of the state budget called for the UNC System to study “the feasibility of dissolving any constituent institution whose fall full-time equivalent student enrollment declined by more than 20 percent between the 2010-2011 fiscal year and the 2013-2014 fiscal year” and to develop a plan for its dissolution.

ECSU, with a 27 percent enrollment drop during that span, was the only school fitting the provision.

Gasman described the measure as “systematic racism.”

“It’s interesting because no one ever says let’s cut a historically white institution,” she said. “To me, all I can think of is why is it that whenever we want to save money, we cut out the black folks? It doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Sen. Jerry Tillman, R-Randolph, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, said the provision had nothing to do with race.

“Any time you have operations that seem inefficient, that comes up all the time in budget discussions,” he said. “That was an example of what came up. That’s exactly what happened. We said let’s take a look at ECSU. It may be able to combine programs. Give us a study, show us what you can do to make it efficient.”

Former Rep. Annie Mobley, D-Hertford, a 1963 ECSU graduate whose district included the university, wasn’t surprised by the provision. For years, legislators talked about closing the school, she said.

Outcry by Mobley and others in the state’s Legislative Black Caucus, along with community and political leaders in Elizabeth City, led to the budget provision’s quick removal.

But Mobley believes ECSU’s future remains in jeopardy.

“It’ll probably be right back on the chopping block again next year,” said Mobley, whose term ended in December after she lost a May primary. She said it’s important for black lawmakers to “remain sensitive to what the climate is for possibly any kind of closure not only to Elizabeth City but other HBCUs, because it’s my thought that they are going to be picked off one at a time until they get it specifically like they want it.”

ECSU’s campus police scandal led to the resignation of campus police chief Sam Beamon, who was later charged by the State Bureau of Investigation with willful failure to discharge his duties, and the retirement of Chancellor Willie Gilchrist.

Beamon pleaded no contest to the charge, but was found guilty by a judge in November, according to media reports. Beamon had his 45-day prison sentence suspended, was placed on probation for a year and ordered to complete community service.

In September, a management and technology partnerships consultant was chosen to become the school’s first female leader.

Stacey Franklin Jones, 53, has a 10-page resume highlighting a well-defined career at engineering firms and through academia, including roles as senior vice president at Benedict College in South Carolina and provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bowie State University in Maryland.

But at those schools, Jones’ academic decisions have been questioned. At Benedict, she fired two professors for not following a controversial student grading policy that allowed effort to make up half of a student’s grade. The firings led to questions regarding professors’ academic freedom, according to news reports.

Jones received a vote of ‘no-confidence’ by Bowie State faculty – three months into her job – after professors said they were being excluded from administrative and academic changes at the school. She left Bowie State the following month.

WRAL made multiple attempts to interview Jones since her confirmation in September. The university has cited scheduling conflicts regarding her unavailability.

UNC System President Thomas Ross described her as a strategic thinker, engaged, resourceful, innovative and accessible.

“She brings to the role of chancellor a rare blend of leadership, experience in higher education, industry and government, as well as a practical understanding of how to guide institutions through serious challenges, whether academic or financial in nature,” he said.

In a September news conference announcing her confirmation, Jones described ECSU as a potential model for other schools.

“I see opportunity. Yes, there are challenges, but there are challenges with any institution and for different reasons,” she said. “I see much more potential than I do challenges in Elizabeth City State University. And the time in terms of what’s happening around the country in having models of affordable academic success universities, I think Elizabeth City State University is the perfect place and this is the perfect time to create a model.”

Jones outlined the school’s ‘rightsizing’ efforts to lawmakers during a Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee meeting in October, including:

  • The elimination of geology, marine environmental science, physics and studio art majors, resulting in the removal of 12 positions.
  • Moving the facilities and police departments under the business and finance department to create “a more strategic management structure.”
  • Increasing the student-faculty ratio from 15:1 to 17:1.
  • Saving $8.9 million through eliminating 140 positions between the 2013 and 2015.

Jones also outlined the school’s success plan to lawmakers, which includes re-branding, “strategic enrollment management,” becoming regionally relevant and working on campus organization.

Tillman, the legislative committee chairman, attended the October meeting and said he has a “wait-and-see” approach toward ECSU’s efforts.

“They had some good plans that they were going to implement, including combining programs,” he said. “They gave me a lot of interim steps they can take, so I just want to see how they’ll make this work. How they spend taxpayer money? That’s what I’m interested in.”


Copyright 2015 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


How Black Middle-Class Kids Become Poor Adults


When it comes to financial stability, black Americans are often in much more precarious financial situations than white Americans. Their unemployment rate is higher, and so is the level of poverty within the black community. In 2013, the poverty rate among white Americans was 9.6 percent, among black Americans it was 27.2 percent. And the gap between the wealth of white families and black families has widened to its highest levels since 1989, according to a 2014 study by Pew Research Center.

The facts of this rift aren’t new, or all that surprising. But perhaps what’s most unsettling about the current economic climate in black America is that when black families attain middle-class status, the likelihood that their children will remain there, or do better, isn’t high.

American Income Distributions, by Race

“Even black Americans who make it to the middle class are likely to see their kids fall down the ladder,” writes Richard Reeves, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. In a recent blog post Reeves says that seven out of 10 black children who are born to families with income that falls in the middle quintile of the income spectrum will find themselves with income that’s one to two quintiles below their parents during their own adulthood.

A 2014 study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, which looked at factors like parental income, education, and family structure, shows a similar pattern: Many black Americans not only fail to move up, but show an increased likelihood of backsliding. According to the study, “In recent decades, blacks have experienced substantially less upward intergenerational mobility and substantially more downward intergenerational mobility than whites.”

The greater probability of slipping back applies to blacks across income groups. According to the Fed study, about 60 percent of black children whose parents had income that fell into the top 50 percent of the distribution saw their own income fall into the bottom half during adulthood. This type of downward slide was common for only 36 percent of white children.

But the gap in mobility was also significant for lower-class families as well. “For most of the bottom half of the income distribution, the racial differences in upward mobility are consistently between 20 and 30 percent,” writes senior economist Bhashkar Mazumder, the study’s author. “If future generations of white and black Americans experience the same rates of intergenerational mobility as these cohorts, we should expect to see that blacks on average would not make any relative progress.”

The explanations for this phenomenon are varied, but largely hinge on many of the criticisms that already exist in regard to socioeconomics and race in the U.S. Economists cite lower educational attainment, higher rates of single-parent households, and geographic segregation as potential explanations for these trends. The latter determines not only what neighborhoods people live in, but often what types of schools children attend, which could play a role in hindering their educational and professional attainment later on. According to Reeves, “In terms of opportunity, there are still two Americas, divided by race.”

Still, most economists lack a clear, definitive explanation for why, after reaching the middle class, many black American families quickly lose that status as their children fall behind.





Marion Barry University — and free tuition? D.C. lawmaker proposes overhaul of UDC

D.C. Council member Vincent B. Orange on Tuesday proposed turning the University of the District of Columbia into a tuition-free community college and renaming it after the late Marion Barry.

University officials said they had not been consulted on the proposals, and council colleagues offered initial support only for the idea of tuition-free community college — something President Obama last month called for nationwide.

Orange, an at-large Democrat and strong supporter of expanding the District’s struggling university, cast his proposals as a chance to keep more high school students on track to obtaining college degrees and to allow students to do so while remaining in the District instead of traveling elsewhere for costlier options.

He also argued that renaming the university after Barry, a former mayor who was on the D.C. Council at the time of his death, would be a fitting tribute to the city’s most well-known, if polarizing, figure.

“Marion Barry is an individual who should be properly honored, but also should be studied, should be researched, just like you would with [former President] Ronald Reagan or [former President George W.] Bush,” Orange said. “For the District of Columbia, this guy really had a major footprint in the city.”

Orange also said he saw no reason for Barry’s criminal record, including a conviction for cocaine possession while in office, to deter the city from renaming for him its institution of higher learning.

“It can serve as an inspiration for some, it can also serve as a way for others to get up and overcome their adversities — and for some, it can serve as a don’t-do-these-types-of-things, stay on this track,” Orange said.

Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) joined Orange in co-introducing the measure. But Council Chairman Phil Mendelson (D), who controls the committee dealing with UDC, called the proposal to rename the university after Barry “premature.”

Mendelson said he expects a commission to be formed to consider the appropriate way to honor Barry’s legacy.

The District’s equivalent of city hall, on Pennsylvania Avenue, is named after former council chairman John A. Wilson. The city’s convention centeris named after former chief executive Walter E. Washington. And the new mayor, Muriel E. Bowser, recently dedicated the city’s summer jobs program, which began under the four-term mayor, as the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program.

On the costlier side of Orange’s proposals, six council members joined in introducing his plan to offer free community college tuition to District residents.

Under the proposal, UDC’s roughly 2,500 community college students could have the now full-time yearly tuition and fees of roughly $2,400 paid by the city if they maintain a 2.0 grade point average, complete studies within two years, and participate in community service and mentoring programs. It was unclear Tuesday how many student’s Orange’s proposal would help. According to UDC statistics, roughly 70 percent of the school’s community college students already receive federal Pell Grants in excess of all tuition and fee costs.

Orange said the program could be the first to implement Obama’sAmerica’s College Promise plan to spend billions nationwide over the coming decade to make associate degrees attainable for free by an estimated 9 million students.

For four-year degrees at the university, Orange also proposed a newfinancing plan for students that would eliminate up-front tuition and fee costs in exchange for a student’s commitment to pay a small percentage of his or her adjusted gross income following graduation for a set number of years.

“If we provide free tuition,” Orange said, “we will have a better workforce, a better-educated workforce and certainly a more informed workforce.”

Education Committee Chairman David Grosso (I-At Large) declined to comment on the proposals.

If Bowser funds a scholarship program the council passed unanimously last year, it could add to the case for Orange’s plan.

The council last year approved a taxpayer-funded college scholarship program known as D.C. Promise. The plan by former council member David Catania would offer high school graduates up to $7,500 per year to help pay for higher education almost anywhere. Orange said a separate measure is needed to make UDC free.

Whether or not his proposals advance, Orange’s actions Monday highlighted anew the evolving identity of the 5,400-student school and the gap between the aspirations of its backers and its financial realities.

Its community college was launched in 2009, with the idea of raising tuition for the four-year program and making it more prestigious.

Both the two-year and four-year programs, however, have struggled with low graduation rates.

Michael Rogers, UDC vice president of University Advancement, declined to comment, saying he was sure the school’s board would discuss the matters at its next meeting later this month:

“The University at this time has no comment on Council member Orange’s proposal for free tuition at UDC nor his proposal to rename the university after former Mayor Barry. We have not been advised of the proposals. We have not seen any proposed legislation. It would be premature to comment.Thank you.”


Bill gives S.C. State’s highest-paid longer furloughs

February 01, 2015 6:45 am  • 

The state House and Senate are both considering bills that would allow South Carolina State University to save money by furloughing employees, but the House version would give the highest-paid employees more unpaid days off.

“I don’t want those employees on the lower end of the pay scale disproportionately affected,” said Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, who sponsored the House version.

S.C. State President Thomas Elzey said on Wednesday that the university could save about $900,000 if all employees took seven furlough days by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Savings from furloughs and other cuts will create a balanced budget by the end of the fiscal year, he said.

Cobb-Hunter and Sen. John Matthews, D-Bowman, introduced bills on Wednesday allowing S.C. State to proceed with the requested furloughs. But the bills do it in different ways.

Under Matthews’ bill, furloughs would cover seven days.

“What we did is give the authority to do it. We’d let the president and board make the decisions,” Matthews said.

He said, “It’s better for the university to manage it.”

Cobb-Hunter’s bill states that employees with an annual salary of $50,000 or less must take a furlough for five days. The furlough must be for 15 days for employees with an annual salary of more than $50,000 under her bill.

The Orangeburg Democrat said on Friday that she plans, “to amend the bill so that employees who make $25,000 or less would only take a furlough of two to three days.”

Cobb-Hunter said S.C. State’s leaders need some direction on how to best use requested furlough days, as she doesn’t have “the same level of confidence in the president and the board that the Senate apparently does.”

She said that the restrictions in the proposed House bill, “are necessary from a cost-savings standpoint to provide some direction on areas that would allow for the most savings.”

Elzey has asked employees to voluntarily take unpaid days off in anticipation of the furlough being approved. He said they will be given credit for the days they already took off once lawmakers approve the furlough.

Matthews’ version of the bill includes provisions for employees who have voluntarily furloughed themselves. Cobb-Hunter’s version does not.

Both versions state that law enforcement employees and employees who provide direct patient or client care, and front-line employees who deliver customer services may be exempted from the mandatory furlough.

And both versions of the bill state, “under no circumstances shall the university close completely.”

Contact the writer: or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD.

Contact the writer: 803-533-5545​

A Bird’s Eye View of the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request for Education

Our nation has made incredible strides in education over the past few years. The national graduation rate is at an all-time high and a million more black and Hispanic students are now in college. That’s progress we can all be proud of.

But we still have critical work to do to ensure that all students in this country receive an excellent education that sets them up to succeed in college, careers, and life. Millions of our children start kindergarten far behind their peers because they lack access to high-quality preschool. And the outcomes of our education system continue to reflect unacceptable inequities in the distribution of resources, funding, high-quality teaching, and access to rigorous coursework.

As Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a recent speech on the need to reauthorize the nation’s education law—the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)—we are at a “crossroads” that will determine whether or not we move forward as a country.

President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 budget request for education aims to ensure that our education system—and our students—continue on a successful trajectory. The budget provides funds to strengthen educational outcomes for all our nation’s students—especially our most vulnerable populations—and to expand the middle class.

The budget focuses on four key areas: increasing equity and opportunity for all students; expanding high-quality early learning programs; supporting teachers and school leaders; and improving access, affordability and student outcomes in postsecondary education.

The budget includes an overall commitment to using and developing evidence to maximize results for taxpayers and students. By encouraging a greater share of grant funding to be spent on approaches with strong evidence of effectiveness and building better evaluations into grant making, we can keep learning about what works.

Here’s a sampling of what’s included in this year’s budget request for education:

Increasing equity and opportunity for all students

Equality of opportunity is a core American value that helps form our national identity, solidify our democracy, and strengthen our economy. All young people in this country must have the chance to learn and achieve. Unfortunately, there are far too many students, especially in disadvantaged groups, that still lack access to a high-quality education. To close these gaps, the 2016 request provides $2.7 billion, or an almost 12 percent increase, for ESEA programs to ensure that all students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers. Key investments include:

  • $15.4 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies, a $1 billion increase that would provide much-needed support to school districts that have been serving a greater number of students from low-income families in recent years. Funds would be targeted to districts working to implement new college- and career-ready standards and aligned assessments, close achievement gaps, turn around their lowest-performing schools, and use new educator evaluation systems to improve instruction and provide better support to teachers.
  • $11.7 billion for the IDEA Grants to States program, an increase of $175 million from the fiscal year 2015 level, to assist states and schools in covering the excess costs of providing special education and related services to individuals with disabilities, ages 3 through 21.
  • $773 million for English Language Acquisition grants, an increase of $36 million, to provide increased support to states as they help the significant growing number of English learners in U.S. schools attain English language proficiency and become college and career ready.
  • $150 million for Promise Neighborhoods, a $93 million increase, to support new awards to local partnerships to develop and implement comprehensive, neighborhood-based plans for meeting the cradle-to-career educational, health, and social services needs of children and families in high-poverty communities.
  • A new Equity and Outcomes Pilot for up to 10 participating Title I local educational agencies would give districts that are equitably distributing funding to their highest-poverty schools greater flexibility to use federal funds for district-level reforms.
  • $131 million for the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), an increase of $30.7 million for an additional 200 full-time employees to help ensure that the Department’s OCR has the resources to respond to complaints of discrimination and to ensure that Federal grantees follow civil rights laws.

Expanding high-quality early learning programs 

Unequal access to education starts early, and too many children, especially those from low-income families, lack the opportunity to benefit from high-quality preschool, which can help to ensure they arrive in kindergarten ready to learn. The U.S. has fallen behind many countries in providing access to preschool education, and currently ranks just 25thin the world in its enrollment of 4-year-olds. The President’s 2016 request continues to propose transformational new investments in preschool. It also includes additional proposals designed to strengthen and expand access to high-quality preschool models. Highlights include:

  • $75 billion over 10 years in mandatory funding for Preschool for All to support the implementation of universal high-quality preschool programs that are aligned with elementary and secondary education systems and help ensure that all children arrive in kindergarten ready for success in school and in life.
  • $750 million for the Preschool Development Grants program, a $500 million increase to build on the successful launch of this program in 2014 with awards to 18 states. This additional funding would support new awards to nearly every state that submits a high-quality application.
  • $504 million for the IDEA Grants for Infants and Families program, a $65 million increase, to assist States in providing high-quality early intervention services to approximately 340,000 infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. The Obama administration is proposing to reserve $15 million of this increase for Pay for Success pilots to expand early screening and early intervention services.
  • $403 million for IDEA Preschool Grants, a $50 million increase, to provide special education and related services to children ages 3 through 5. Under the current statute, LEAs may reserve up to 15 percent of the funds they receive under Part B of the IDEA to provide coordinated early intervening services (CEIS) to children in grades kindergarten through 12. The Administration is requesting additional flexibility to allow LEAs to provide CEIS to children ages three through five.

Supporting teachers and school leaders

Teaching is one of the most important and challenging careers, and of all the school-related factors that impact student academic performance, great teachers matter most. Yet teachers today do not have the support, the opportunities, or the autonomy they need to succeed. The 2016 request provides significant support for teachers and leaders who are doing the hard, daily work of teaching our nation’s students. The 2016 request includes:

  • $1 billion in 2016, and a total of $5 billion over 5 years, for a new, mandatoryTeaching for Tomorrow program that would provide funds to States or districts willing to make meaningful transformations in their approaches to recruiting, training, supporting, retaining, and advancing highly effective teachers throughout their careers. States and school districts would submit high-quality plans including strategies that are based on or build evidence of effectiveness.
  • $350 million for Excellent Educators Grants, an expansion of existing efforts to support comprehensive human capital systems that effectively use teacher and principal evaluation, with multiple measures including student learning, to develop, support, reward, and advance effective teachers and principals.
  • $138.8 million for a proposed Teacher and Principal Pathways consolidation that would support the creation or expansion of high-quality pathways into the teaching and school leadership professions.
  • $200 million for Education Technology State Grants to support models for using technology to help teachers and school leaders improve instruction and personalize learning.

Improving access, affordability, and student outcomes in higher education

Americans need more knowledge and skills to meet the demands of a growing global economy, and every American should be able to secure a quality education without accumulating crippling student loan debt. While the total aid available to postsecondary students has grown dramatically over the past six years, helping to ensure that more students are graduating from college than ever before, a significant opportunity gap remains. To keep America’s economy strong and grow the middle class, the fiscal year 2016 budget would help make college affordable and help more Americans attain a college degree or certificate. Key investments include:

  • $1.36 billion in 2016 for America’s College Promise, a $60.3 billion investment over 10 years, which creates a new partnership with States to help them eliminate tuition and fees in high-quality programs for responsible students, while promoting key reforms to help more students complete at least 2 years of college.
  • Simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by removing data elements pertaining to assets and additional types of income and by relying primarily on information readily available in Federal tax returns, making it more understandable and easier for applicants to complete.
  • Reforming and streamlining income-driven repayment by creating a single, simple, and better-targeted plan that reduces complexity and simplifies borrowers’ experience, while helping them manage their debt.
  • $200 million for the American Technical Training Fund for career and technical education linked to employers in high-demand fields.

In his speech to reauthorize ESEA, Secretary Duncan said, “Schools need more support—and more money, more resources—than they receive today…Educational opportunity isn’t an option, it’s a civil right, a moral imperative, and the best way we can strengthen our nation and attract and retain great jobs that expand the middle class.”

The 2016 budget request is a bold step in achieving that vision. We owe it to our nation’s learners to invest in their future.

Learn even more information on the 2016 budget.


History of HBCU Schools

HBCU stands for “Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” and the term dates back to 1837, 26 years before the end of slavery. Quaker philanthropist Richard Humpreys founded the Institute for Colored Youth to educate people of African descent. Today, this school is better known as Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, the oldest African American institution of higher learning.

HBCU quote: "HBCU stands for 'Historically Black Colleges and Universities.'"

Cheyney was ahead of its time, as were HBCU schools likeLincoln University, founded in 1854, and Wilberforce University, founded in 1856, because most HBCU schools were founded after the Civil War.

However, with the end of slavery and the Civil War, other schools started to follow suit, especially when many states excluded black people from attending their land grant colleges. The second Morrill Act of 1890 was passed to require states to establish a separate land grant college for African Americans if they were being excluded from an existing land grant college. By 1902, 85 schools were set up with the goal to educate sons and daughters of former slaves.

Key HBCU Statistics

Oldest HBCU School Cheyney University of Pennsylvania Founded in 1837
Largest HBCU School North Carolina A&T State University 8,041 undergrads
Hardest HBCU School To Get Into Fisk University 11 percent
Number of HBCU Schools N/A 104

For a long time, HBCUs were the only option for African Americans, but the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision ended “separate but equal” school systems. In the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Supreme Court more narrowly defined an HBCU as “any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principle mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary of Education to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.”HBCU quote: "Any student is eligible to apply and enroll, regardless of race or ethnicity."

While the culture surrounding these universities is tailored most to African American heritage, any student is eligible to apply and enroll, regardless of race or ethnic background. In fact, many publicly funded HBCUs are becoming more desegregated as the student body begins to reflect the racial demographics of the surrounding area, as is the case with West Virginia State University, a historically black college with a student population that is 64 percent white (as opposed to its 14 percent African American population), and Bluefield State College, anHBCU with a 90 percent white student body.

HBCU Rankings
These are the Top 10 HBCU Schools according to the Best HBCU Schools ranking.

Niche Ranking
1. Spelman College Atlanta GA 2074 Private Non-Profit Traditional
2. Florida A&M University Tallahassee FL 9100 Public Traditional
3. Howard University Washington DC 6270 Private Non-Profit Traditional
4. North Carolina A&T State University Greensboro NC 8041 Public Traditional
5. Jackson State University Jackson MS 5506 Public Traditional
6. Tougaloo College Tougaloo MS 934 Private Non-Profit Traditional
7. Morehouse College Atlanta GA 2220 Private Non-Profit Traditional
8. Fisk University Nashville TN 554 Private Non-Profit Traditional
9. Tuskegee University Tuskegee AL 2936 Private Non-Profit Traditional
10. Southern University & A&M College Baton Rouge LA 4517 Public Traditional
Showing 1 to 10 of 10 entries

Click here for a full list of HBCU colleges.

Famous HBCU Alumni

HBCU College
Common Florida A&M University
Toni Morrison Howard University
Rev. Jesse Jackson North Carolina A&T University
Sean “Puffy/P.Diddy/Diddy” Combs Howard University
Samuel L. Jackson Morehouse College
Jerry Rice Mississippi Valley State University
Herman Cain Morehouse College
Spike Lee Morehouse College
Alice Walker Spelman College
Wanda Sykes Hampton University
Oprah Winfrey Tennessee State University

The Bottom Line
Today, there are 104 HBCU institutions in America. While HBCUs qualify as a small percentage of the nation’s institutions of higher learning, 20 percent of African Americans that earn undergraduate degrees do so from from these colleges and universities. These schools may have come from a troubled period in United States history, but today they hold a legacy that continues to support students from all walks of life, of any color and background.


Report: Plans to Merge Georgia State U. With a Community College
January 6, 2015

The University System of Georgia will attempt another merger, this time between Georgia State University and a community college, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, citing unnamed sources close to the matter.

Since 2011, the Georgia system has embarked on a series of mergers unlike any other state system in the country. The sixth and latest would be between Georgia State, a four-year university with an urban campus and about 25,000 undergraduates, and Georgia Perimeter College, a two-year college with about 21,000 students in the suburbs. Both are in or near Atlanta, but they have far different missions and programs. Georgia State has a $740 million budget, about four times Perimeter’s, and has a significantly higher tuition, which could become a knot to untangle for Georgia officials.

The merger is expected to be recommended at a meeting today of the system’s Board of Regents. The board is also set to finalize a merger between Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University that was announced in November 2013 and approved by accreditors just last month.

Georgia has already merged a four-year with a two-year college, when it combined North Georgia College and State University with the two-year Gainesville State College, but those institutions are smaller and had roughly the same budget. The state has also combined two colleges with vastly different missions and budgets: Augusta State University, a mostly undergraduate institution, and Georgia Health Sciences University, a medical college with a $630 million budget that was 10 times that of Augusta State’s.

Mergers have been a key goal of Georgia system Chancellor Hank Huckaby’s since he took the job in 2011. With the Kennesaw and Southern Poly merger, the number of public colleges in the state will be reduced to 30 from 35 when he took office.

The Georgia system makes its decision to merge based on a combination of qualitative and quantitative factors, which the board has publicly boiled down to a half-dozen “principles for consolidation.”