All Articles Tagged "HBCUs"
College students are often early adopters, the first to try the latest social networks and mobile devices. But how do the colleges and universities they attend stack up? Here are 10 HBCUs that are doing cool things in the digital and social media space.
It appears that the Republican Party is leaving no stone unturned in its latest efforts to reach out to the African-American community. The GOP, which already went on a listening tour, is even dong outreach to Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs).
After again being defeated by President Barack Obama who had the overwhelming support of minority voters, Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee (RNC) chairman, commissioned a report to outline a new strategy for the party, reports Diverse Education magazine. The 97-page Growth and Opportunity Project report was unveiled last month and among its suggestions was to find new ways to reach the black community. And recommended seeking out HBCUs, which said the report are institutions at which Republicans can engage African-Americans “with the goal of educating the community on Republican ideals and the party’s history.”
“HBCUs are part of the African-American community. We want to be engaged in all parts of the African-American community. So it’s important for us to do outreach to HBCUs,” Raffi Williams, the RNC deputy press secretary and the outreach coordinator to African Americans, told the magazine. “We’re still in the planning process, obviously, figuring out what the best strategy is moving forward.”
He added, “We want to be involved with conservatives all across the country. Specifically if it helps us doing outreach to HBCUs, [those campus groups] will be very important for us and something that we hope to utilize.”
Dr. Robert Ford, a professor of chemistry at Texas Southern University (TSU) and an adviser to the Young Conservatives organization at the Houston-based historically black university, told the publication that the effort could increase GOP black votes in the next presidential election. According to Ford, the Republican Party initiative could help stimulate interest in helping reinvigorate the TSU group, which currently has just 15 members.
“I think there’s a newfound recognition that young people vote and that young people can be effective messengers in their communities that has brought more attention to HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions in getting out its new message of inclusiveness,” Ford said to Diverse Education.
With members of the right wing making comments like this about new MSNBC host Karen Finney, the GOP’s outreach efforts are being undermined by its own people.
As we recently reported, hundreds of students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are finding themselves with less financial aid due to changes made on federal student loan applications.
Now the HBCUs are fighting back. According to the Washington Times (via Black Blue Dog), HBCUs may end up having to sue President Obama’s administration for allowing changes in student loan standards. These changes have disproportionately affected minority populations. On the HBCU side, they say they were not given advanced notice of changes in loan standards resulting from new eligibility requirements coming from the US Department of Education.
“We’re going to continue to pursue the legislative process to find a better solution,” Johnny C. Taylor, president and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund told the Washington Times. “We are not itching for a fight, [but] we need to do what is necessary to protect what is the most vulnerable and fragile in our society.”
On the White House side, the Obama Administration has said that they made the changes so that the expectations for these loans match industry standards for getting other types of loans. This has not happened, however, for many black students, especially those at HBCUs. “[D]ue to differences in wealth levels, African Americans are often left behind,” writes Black Blue Dog. “Before, less than a quarter of PLUS loan applicants were denied. That number has risen to more than half,” the article continues.
Separately, but related, the average debt for HBCU students is $32,000. So though those loans are needed, many students are walking off campus for the last time with a high degree of debt.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are already struggling financially, and now new requirements for a popular student loan program is hitting HBCUs hard. According to a new report, changes to a government student loan are making it difficult for thousands of students to afford college this school year. The federal Parent PLUS loan program requirements are more stringent. And for HBCUs that need as many students as possible, this is affecting their enrollment stats as more of their students come from low-income families.
And, according to NPR news program “Here & Now,” thousands of HBCUs “got an unexpected shock this year when their renewals for the PLUS loans were denied.” The loans allow parents to borrow money for tuition, room and board, books and other school-related expenses.
The National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education estimates that 14,000 students at HBCUs were denied PLUS loans – about half the students at those schools who applied for them.
“Dr. William Harvey, president of Virginia’s Hampton University, estimates that the change has cost HBCUs about $168 million,” reports “Here & Now.”
But experts are advising the denied parents to appeal the denials. The Department of Education will reinstate loans during appeal if families had PLUS loans in the past.
New students, however, are out of luck.
According to WBTV, the U.S. Department of Education made the changes to the PLUS loan program in an effort to make sure government loans line up with industry standards to decrease the rate at which students default on the loans.
College student loan debt is a problem, but is this the way to solve it?
For the past 25 years Morehouse College has held the “A Candle in the Dark” gala, the largest fundraiser for the historically black college. During this year’s event, The Ray Charles Foundation bestowed a $3 million gift on the only all-male historically black institution of higher learning in the United States.
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the gift will go towards the naming of the academic wing of the Ray Charles Performing Arts Center at the college after Charles’ mother, Aretha Robinson.
“I know that Ray Charles had a long-standing relationship with Morehouse based on professionalism, integrity and honesty,” Valerie Ervin, president of the foundation, said in a statement. “He genuinely valued the education and preparation that Morehouse provides to young men.”
In the past, Charles had been invited to perform with the college’s jazz ensemble. It was actually Charles’ long-time manager, Joe Adams, who introduced the music legend to Morehouse. Adams was an avid contributor to Morehouse, having given a personal gift in support of the construction of the performing arts center now named for Charles, reports the newspaper.
“Morehouse is fortunate to have been able to forge a relationship with Mr. Charles. More important, we are grateful to him, Ms. Ervin, and The Ray Charles Foundation for all they have done to promote appreciation of the arts and humanities and to further music education at the College,” said Morehouse president John Silvanus Wilson Jr. in a press statement.
This isn’t the first monetary gift that has been made in the singer’s name. In 2001 after receiving an honorary degree from Morehouse, Charles made two $1 million gifts to the school. Morehouse was not actually the first choice for a performing arts center in his name. That would be Albany State University. But, according to AJC, late last year the foundation reclaimed $1.2 million of $3 million in donations to Albany State because the school did not use the money to build a performing arts center. Charles, who died in 2004, made gifts totaling $3 million to Albany State in 2001 and 2002 to build a performing arts center named in honor of his mother. The building was never built.
When the foundation asked that the university return the money, the Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens even stepped in. Albany State President Everette J. Freeman said that returning the money “brings to a close negotiations with the Ray Charles Foundation,” reports AJC.
Hopefully, Morehouse will go forward with their plans to build the performing arts center. The Ray Charles Foundation will obviously hold Morehouse to its promise.
Hollywood or Bust: Fox Partners With HBCUs To Develop Diversity Program for the Entertainment Industry
Fox has announced a partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that will will bring HBCU students, faculty and alumni together with executives from Fox’s media and entertainment divisions, reports Target Market News. The new union, called the FOX/HBCU Media Alliance (FHMA), is an effort to encourage students who are interested in pursuing careers in the film and television industry. It also aims to advance the careers of HBCU alumni currently working in media and entertainment across the Fox businesses.
The initiative will be spearheaded by Fox Audience Strategy, the company’s cross-divisional unit that focuses on advocating diverse perspectives in entertainment. This is just one division of the company that brings you Fox News, Fox Business, 20th Century Fox and programs like The Cleveland Show, American Dad, and Glee.
“As a HBCU alumnus, I know first-hand the extraordinary level of talent coming out of these schools,” said Nicole Bernard, Senior Vice President, and head of FOX Audience Strategy, in a press statement. Bernard received her undergraduate degree at Howard University before earning her J.D. at Georgetown University Law Center.
“I am excited that we will have the opportunity through regional events, workforce initiatives and social networking platforms to not only identify, cultivate and advance the best and brightest from this vast community, but to provide an array of tangible platforms for their creative gifts,” she continued.
Through the partnership, FOX Audience Strategy is also establishing and funding the Fox Film Grant that will enable one FHMA member to participate in the diversity and mentorship program Project Involve, a year-long program of Film Independent, nonprofit arts organization that champions the independent filmmaker.
Based in Los Angeles, FHMA will also have chapters in Washington, D.C. and New York City, led by HBCU alumni in the media and entertainment industry, according to Target Market. Membership in the Alliance is open to all current HBCUs, their students, faculty and alumni who work in the media and entertainment sector.
“This partnership will help Howard and other HBCUs to continue their tradition of producing quality talent that creates award-winning work,” said Sidney A. Ribeau, Ph.D., president of Howard University, in a press statement.
Last week, we reported on an in-depth interview with the new president of Morehouse, John Silvanus Wilson, and NPR host Michel Martin. The big topic — maintaining the relevance of HBCUs. From Wilson’s point of view, colleges in general need to update their business model. HBCUs specifically need to work on things like alumni giving and financial aid.
Madame Noire readers have some suggestions also.
Since that story was published, we’ve heard from readers on Facebook and Twitter, who’ve shared their suggestions for improving HBCUs.
“[HBCUs] need more online classses & degrees. To keep up w/ the other colleges who offer it,” Ms Melody said on Twitter. @BigAppleInnATL agrees, and says, “…[A]lso they can make [registration] online for current students instead of long lines.”
A couple of Facebook commenters tackled the issues with the course offerings directly. @Chase Ross commented on Facebook: “There’s a disconnect between liberal arts education and work-ready skills. There should be a series of free online tutorials and proficiency tests/certifications that students should have to complete before graduation in programs such as excel, photshop, prezi, etc. They should also provide personal finance tutorials.” And @Tanisha Waggoner says she actually decided against an HBCU because of a lack of computer courses.
Once again, this by no means implies that issues with higher education only exist at HBCUs. Across the college spectrum, educators are looking for ways to modernize their schools and programs in order to keep up with the needs of students and the jobs marketplace.
And all that said, one of the commenters on that previous story, a Spelman grad who thinks there needs to be a focus on areas of study other than liberal arts, took a moment to discuss why HBCUs are very necessary. “What makes HBCUs so great is the deep tradition that most of them still hold to today. HBCUs break the stigma that ‘all Black people are alike,’ Tiffaney Graham writes. “It allows you to get to not only know yourself as you’re becoming an independent adult but as a person of color too.”
With an eye towards self-employment in a tough economy (even tougher for minorities), more and more HBCU students are seeking out courses in entrepreneurship. And this isn’t just for business students. This trend applies to students across majors. Barron Harvey, Dean of the School of Business at Howard University told Black Enterprise that he’s seeing an uptick in entrepreneurial interest that “really exploded over the last five years.”
“The need to create & educate the next generation has changed from just churning out future employees but also future employers,” the story says.
We’ve reported on the increase in small business ownership among African Americans a number of times here on Madame Noire Business. And there are also some college majors that are more lucrative than others. All of this taken together has inspired students to think differently about their education and careers.
The story reports that other schools, including Bowie State University and Bennett College have created programs for entrepreneurial studies. To learn more about the entrepreneurial streak tearing across the nation’s HBCUs, click to BlackEnterprise.com.
From Black Voices
Before coming of age as a student at Hampton University, Carl Gray was a staunch, frequently lone defender of his conservative values. Ask him to recall a specific time where classmates or friends really challenged or debated him on his politics, he can’t remember one — because a teacher or administrator always got in the way to defend liberal policies and the fellow students that believed them.
“That in itself was discouraging to know that teachers and professors wouldn’t even allow for students to have their own discussions regarding political beliefs,” said Gray. “It was ‘My way or the highway’ in those classes. You either agree with the liberal philosophy or face the wrath. I often felt that I was being indoctrinated rather than taught. I actually learned more on my own, by reading both sides and making my own conclusion.”
Read more at BlackVoices.com.
Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) have been financially strapped as of late, so the recent announcement that millions will be awarded to HBCUs is welcome news.
The U.S. Education Department has awarded five-year grants totaling $228 million to 97 black colleges in 19 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the Associated Press. The schools can opt to use the money to expand their campuses, acquire science and tech equipment, develop counseling programs and train faculty. A majority of the schools are in the South.
Cash-strapped Morris Brown in Atlanta, however, was not on the list of colleges receiving grants. The money could have helped relieve some of the school’s $30 million debt. Morris Brown College is in danger of shutting its doors due to its continuing financial struggles.
The following schools will receive more than $5 million:
• Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA
• Jackson State University in Jackson, MS
• St. Philip’s College in San Antonio, TX
Other schools getting some of the funding are Tuskegee University (about $2.28 million), Morehouse College (about $2.3 million), Clark Atlanta (about $2.76 million) and South Carolina State University (about $3.35 million).
For a full breakdown of how much will go to each school, click here.