All Articles Tagged "black colleges"
Before School Daze what movies were talking about the good, the bad and the ugly of black college life? Though this was only Spike Lee’s third film, he took on heavy topics including colorism in the black community, Greek life and apartheid. It only took Lee $152,000 to complete School Daze‘s predecessor, She’s Gotta Have It, and Columbia studios entrusted him with $6 million for this one. Though the musical drama was received with mixed reviews, (which we’ll get to later), the film went on to earn $14.5 million at the box office. Check out the interesting little facts and tidbits behind this game-changing flick.
Can you imagine an historic black college with as many non-black students as African-Americans? Thanks to a barrage of recent financial problems, that perplexing thought is not out the realm of possibility. Southern University, a prominent black university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, saw its fall enrollment drop below 7,000 students this season, a decrease of roughly 5 percent from last year.
Conversely, area public colleges Louisiana State (LSU), UL-Lafayette and Southeastern enjoyed modest enrollment gains. Unfortunately, Southern isn’t alone.
Other Historically Black Colleges and Universities are suffering a similar decline. Now the million dollar question: Why the rapid decline in enrollment?
Are blacks turned off by HBCUs?
Are admission standards too strict?
Does the economy play a factor?
Are junior colleges viewed as being a more viable financial option?
Chancellor James Llorens points the finger of blame at a new registration process and financial aid policy that delays cash disbursements; preventing students from satisfying their debts.
“We lost some students just out of frustration,” said Llorens, who vowed the school will make every attempt to bring the students back to the university.
Keep in mind; tuition at HBCUs cost an average of $10,000 less per year than their predominant white counterparts.
by Selam Aster
Historically Black Colleges and Universities play a far different role today then they did well over a century ago. Times have changed, and so have the 105 HBCUs that still exist today. Recently, the Wall Street Journal illuminated the fact that more than 17 percent of the students in attendance are not Black. That number is not random.
Recruiters from top HBCUs are seeking out to diversify their enrollments. As competition has become stiff for Black students across the country, many of these schools can’t rely solely on Black students to fill up their classrooms. As private colleges, they still heavily rely on tuition to maintain and expand. Not only is there more competition to attract the top Black students but there is even more competition to attract mid-level students and those seeking vocational degrees as online schools have inundated education market in the past decade.
Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College in Dallas, has made an extra effort at recruiting by offering “presidential scholarships,” to students of all races. Of the 20 students that were selected to receive the scholarship, six have been Hispanic or white. Offering scholarships to non-Black students may raise some questions but on a publicity scale, the move definitely will help promote the school’s attractiveness to non-Black students.
With HBCUs looking to recruit talent across the board, many say their number one commitment is still providing a complementary and inspiring learning environment for Black students, who would otherwise represent the minority at other schools. “Black colleges do a good job by another measure, in educating students who enroll with less money and lower college-entrance test scores, on average, than incoming freshmen at other schools, Marybeth Gasman, professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate school of education told the Wall Street Journal. “Historically black colleges and universities enroll 16% of all black undergrads, but award 25% of the bachelor’s degrees received by African Americans.”
(AP) — As American colleges and universities gear up to meet a presidential goal to deepen the nation’s pool of college grads, historically black institutions face extra pressure from threats to the financial support that many of their students depend on, the presidents of some colleges said Thursday. About 100 presidents of historically black colleges are meeting in Atlanta and will discuss their role in President Barack Obama’s call for America to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. Meanwhile, Pell Grants are under fire as some members of Congress look at cutting such programs to trim the budget. Many minority students depend on the needs-based grants to stay in school. To meet the president’s goal, John Wilson, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, says the country will need to produce about 8 million more graduates — 2 million of whom need to be African-American, and 200,000 from historically black colleges.
(FinalCall.com) - To attend an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) or not is the question many Black high school students face every year. New research from Morehouse College economist Gregory N. Price and two fellow economists from Howard University, William Spriggs and Omari H. Swinton, finds graduates of HBCUs do better in the labor market long term than non-HBCU grads. Their report, “The Relative Returns to Graduating from a Historically Black College/University,” considered the benefits of earning a baccalaureate degree from an HBCU compared to a non-HBCU for Black Americans. “Our results lend support to the idea that HBCUs continue to have a compelling educational justification, as the labor market outcomes of their graduates are superior to what they would have been had they graduated from a non-HBCU,” according to their article. The researchers “Suggest that HBCU graduates realize higher earnings relative to non-HBCU. As such, our results lend support to the idea that HBCUs have a comparative advantage in nurturing the self-image, self-esteem and identity of graduates, which theoretically matters for labor market outcomes.”
(Black Enterprise) — Critics have called them a race-based anachronism. Others have said worse: They’re inferior, they’re in need of a new mission, or they should be managed by for-profit entities. Yet, the data show that historically Black colleges and universities [HBCUs] contribute significantly to the Black middle class and the nation’s economy, and in spite of fewer resources, graduate impressive numbers of majors in education and in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM]. Although most have a majority Black student body, the faculty at many HBCUs is strikingly diverse, sometimes more than 50% non-Black. Moreover, these institutions have never discriminated on the basis of race.
But, in an age of increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the U.S., do we still need HBCUs? Chancellor Charlie Nelms of North Carolina Central University in Durham says yes. “HBCUs provide a culturally affirming, psychologically supportive environment. Students don’t have to prove they belong here.” NCCU provides its students “intentional, intrusive, focused” academic assistance, says Nelms. HBCUs represent about 3% of colleges in the U.S. but enroll 12% of all Black college students and produce 23% of all Black college graduates. Remarkably, this small group of colleges confers 40% of all STEM degrees and 60% of all engineering degrees earned by Black students. They also educate half of the country’s Black teachers and 40% of all Black health professionals. And they do this with much less funding support than that of traditionally White institutions.
She was a myriad of firsts. The first black woman on a tenured track at Northwestern University, the first black woman to serve in a cabinet position in New York State, the first black woman to be associate vice provost for academic affairs at the University of Minnesota, the first female president of Chicago State University and – infamously – the first female president of Morris Brown College. Now, after years of silence during the aftermath of her career-ending relationship with the financially forsaken HBCU, Dolores Cross is speaking out again.
Cross began writing Beyond the Wall: A Memoir after she had been stripped to nothing but time, the truth and an electronic ankle bracelet; a not-so-friendly reminder of the one event in her 30 year career that she’d like to forget. The ex-president of the college founded by ex-slaves had literally become shackled to a strict perimeter and a heavy past. She treated the year-long confinement as a cocoon, where she retreated to write about her experience and explore what happens when one finds herself – literally and figuratively – stuck.
“In Beyond the Wall: A Memoir, I use the marathon metaphor ‘hitting the wall’ to describe how my moving ahead came to a halt when confronted with ill-founded criminal allegations, the media’s rush to judgment and betrayal,” she said. Cross has been loosening herself from sticky situations since she became homeless as a 13-year-old. While most incoming college presidents are negotiating salaries, she faced the possibility of not having one at all; prompting her to begin the first of many projects she would embark on independently for the benefit of the university. She applied for and received a grant from the General Electric Fund that would sponsor her salary for the first two years of her presidency. She had every intention of never being a financial burden to the university, but years later, Morris Brown’s money problems became her personal cross to bear – one that she would later be publicly nailed to.
Aside from the revolving door of presidents at Morris Brown in the 10 years prior to Cross’ induction, the university was suffering the effects of a $3.2 million structural deficit. Additionally, in 1998 they were given an $8.2 million audit disallowance from the U.S. Department of Education, that was coupled with other issues, including plummeting enrollment and a chronically weak technology infrastructure. Then they lost accreditation and things began to fall apart from there; who could forget that $380,000 unpaid water bill?
“There were some things I did not know coming into my presidency,” Cross said. “Bottom line, there were problems at Morris Brown College long before I arrived.” After a long battle with the Department of Education, mutiny from some of her trusted cabinet members, federal charges of fraud and financial irregularities, and being the media’s scapegoat, Cross eventually plead guilty to misapplying $26,000 in student financial aid to cover other operating expenses. The other charges were dismissed. She was sentenced to a year of house arrest, five years probation and 500 hours of community service.
As a haphazard high school senior in the Philadelphia Public School system, I can tell you that the colleges and universities weren’t banging down my door to recruit me. Nor did I think that college was an option for me. Yet with the guidance of my father and my school counselor, who helped me to devise a great college application, I somehow made it to the hollow halls of Virginia Union University.
Because of my inability to write complete structure sentence – a problem that I admittedly still have today – and disgraceful grammar, a four-year journalism program turned into five years (I was in remedial classes in my first year to undo what had been done by my public school experience). Many summers, I took courses both at VUU and at the community college just to keep up with my fellow classmates.
Despite being on a first name basis with the University’s vice-president of Financial Affairs, who worked out agreements with me every semester on how I would cover the gap in federal financial aid funding, I still hung in there. And in 2000, my mother and father were in the stands, smiling proudly, as I walked across the stage to accept my hard-earned degree.
For my mother it was especially emotional considering that I would be the first person on her immediate side of the clan, whom would graduate college. Two years later, my mother became the second, receiving not only her bachelor’s degree but her master’s in social work in an accredited degree program through Lincoln University, another historically Black university.
A story like mines recounts a familiar theme in the fabric of a typical HBCU student. We weren’t all middle-class. We didn’t have the same educational opportunities in secondary schools and in some cases, were seen as academic throw-aways. Yet given the opportunity, many of us excelled and continued the legacy of what it means to be a HBCU graduate.
However, ever since President Obama signed into executive order the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which allocated $20.5 million for repair, renovation, construction and acquisition of HBCU educational facilities and $279 million in new loans in 2011 to HBCUs, some in the mainstream have been tripping over themselves to denounce, if not trash the importance of HBCUs.
Like Jason L. Riley, who in the Wall Street Journal (of all places) took to suggesting that HBCUs are academically inferior and would be better off if turned into community colleges or for-profit online schools such as the University of Phoenix.
And then there is Richard Vedder, an Ohio University professor, who recently wrote that HBCUs were “the embarrassment of the nation,” and said that in a country, which prides itself on equality of opportunity and has a black president, elected largely with the white vote, there really is no need for a historically black college or university to exist.
It never ceases to amaze me the gall of some of these critics, who feel the need to question the relevance of HBCUs while not examining why a student may choose a HBCU over other institutions.
While HBCUs represent only 4 percent of all 4-year institutions, these institutions have managed to produce 21 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to African-Americans. Moreover, the top eight colleges producing African-Americans, who went on to get PhDs. in science and engineering over the previous decade were historically black colleges and universities.
That’s not to say that many HBCUs do not have their own struggles, particularly in the area of improving graduation rates. Last year, the Associated Press analyzed government data on the 83 federally designated four-year HBCUs and found that just 37 percent of their black students finished a degree within six years.
When compared to the graduation nationally, the average six-year graduation rate for all students is 57 percent and the graduation rate for black students is somewhere between 20 to 40 percent. It should also be noted that HBCUs also educate a hugely disproportionate share of low-income students and have managed to do so with half of the endowment of larger universities. When compared to other colleges defined by the government as “low-income serving,” HBCU graduation rates are just a few points lower.
Numbers aside, what makes HBCUs still relevant for many black students is its ability to provide an unrivaled social and cultural environment to accompany its academic experience. Despite -and in lieu of – Riley and Vedder’s assertions, we don’t live in the post-racial America. And regardless of the prestige often accompanied with many HWCUs (that is historically white colleges and universities), they often do not provide the support, both academically and culturally to its Black students.
So while you may have a degree with a lot of clout in the elitist circles, it often meant learning from a bias curriculum, which intentionally left you out, and graduating with no real sense of who you are or where you came from.
Yet all the rebuttals in the world will not halt the not-so-subtle racial undertones of these “critiques” of HBCUs – with the exception of Ralph Jones Jr., a 16 year old academic prodigy, who has chosen the historically Black Florida A&M University to fulfill his higher education aspirations. By choosing FAMU over the likes of Harvard, Yale and Cornell, Jones has declared to the likes of Riley, Vedder and the rest of the critics that an HBCU is better choice for him than anything that a HWCU has to offer.
(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.
(Boston Globe) — Here’s a ranking of medical schools that doesn’t place Harvard at the top. When schools were evaluated based on their “social mission,’’ UMass scored in the top 20, Boston University in the bottom 20, and Tufts and Harvard in the middle of the pack. BU’s dean was “shocked’’ by the conclusions published last week, saying the criteria used by the researchers were too narrow. The Northeast was at the bottom of the list and three historically black medical schools — led by Morehouse College in Georgia — were at the top.