Are Historically Black Colleges And Universities On ‘Brink Of Disaster?(A RESPONSE)

Historically black colleges and universities are ‘on the brink of disaster,’ according to The Hechinger Report. 

HBCUs enroll and graduate one-quarter of all black college students in the United States in which the institutions operate, according to a July 2019 University Business story on the United Negro College Fund’s “HBCUs Punching Above Their Weight” report.

Some 15 HBCUs have closed since 1997, and the total endowments of all of these institutions is about 70% smaller than that of non-HBCUs, according The Hechinger Report.

Yet, ongoing purported “racial tensions” in the country and harassment of black students on some campuses have driven an increase in enrollment at HBCUs, according to research done by The Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education.

About one-third of HBCUs have experienced record increases in applications and enrollment over the past three years, the report found.

While HBCUs comprise just 8.5% of the country’s four-year institutions, these schools award 26% of the bachelor’s degrees and 32% of the STEM degrees earned by black students, according to the UNCF report.

The institutions also help power local, regional and national economies, generating 134,090 jobs and $14.8 billion each year.

“If you put 100 HBCU presidents in the room, and asked what their most critical needs are, I think we would all say, ‘scholarships for students and money to close the affordability gap,” Smothers told UB.

Here is a response:

PRESIDENT TRUMP, IN A, 30-minute speech, told hundreds of leaders of historically black colleges and universities who were gathered for an annual conference that no other administration has done more for them than his.

The president called HBCUs “pillars of excellence” and “engines of advancement,” and said his administration was “protecting and promoting and supporting HBCUs like never before.”

President Donald Trump speaks at the 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Week Conference, Sept. 10, 2019, in Washington, D.C.

“Bigger, and better and stronger than any administration, by far,” he said Tuesday afternoon at a hotel in downtown Washington, where HBCU officials and advocates gathered for the 2019 National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week Conference, hosted annually by the White House.

The argument that seems to come up is this; While HBCU officials have welcomed the funding, they’ve also been quick to point out that White House efforts to decrease funding for other federal programs like work-study and college counseling for low-income students and to eliminate the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants – though unsuccessful – would have canceled out any good done by increased institutional funding. In this we see why congress must take action and balance out aid.

However as reported on November 6th of 2019 federal aid for America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities has now expired and Congress can’t agree whether to pass a short or long term plan to restore the funding. A group of bipartisan senators, educators and students demand a vote now.

These federal dollars pay for campus infrastructure improvements, faculty and curriculum development, and student services. Without them, staff members are looking at layoffs and students are considering transferring.

These things (HBCU funding, aiding seemingly ailing institutions) aren’t important seemingly instead impeachment is to congress. We are currently in an impeachment debacle and the issues that matter such as HBCU funding are not at the forefront of a divided congress. We must demand more from congress or as we’ll see layoffs, transfers and, sadly, even dropouts.