Do Black Colleges Need a New Mission?

October 2, 2010  |  

(Wall Street Journal) — Earlier this month, Mr. Obama hosted a White House reception to celebrate the contributions of the nation’s 105 black colleges and to reiterate his pledge to invest another $850 million in these institutions over the next decade. Recalling the circumstances under which many of these schools were created after the Civil War, the president noted that “at a critical time in our nation’s history, HBCUs waged war against illiteracy and ignorance and won.” He added: “You have made it possible for millions of people to achieve their dreams and gave so many young people a chance they never thought they’d have, a chance that nobody else would give them.” The reality today, however, is that there’s no shortage of traditional colleges willing to give black students a chance. When segregation was legal, black colleges were responsible for almost all black collegians. Today, nearly 90% of black students spurn such schools, and the available evidence shows that, in the main, these students are better off exercising their non-HBCU options.

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