Are HBCU's still relevant? According to the United Negro College Fund, the answer is an emphatic yes.
But as non-HBCU's work to increase their diversity recruitment in a post-racial America is it nostalgia or actual relevance that keep students applying to HBCU's? And does it matter?
In a new report called Students Speak!, African-American college students share their perspective on why they chose to attend a HBCU.
According to the report, some of the major factors that went into choosing a HBCU was the desire for a sense of belonging and an engaged academic and social environment. Another reason HBCUs won out over predominantly white institutions is that the participants preferred HBCU's for the automatic sense of community as well as the sense of cultural pride and identity. Smaller class size and greater access to professors also played a part in college selection.
While an increased sense of belonging is a great thing, both predominately Black and white schools still have a problem with student retention. Approximately 39 percent of students left UNCF member institution after freshman year due to a number of factors like lack of finances and academic preparedness.
Pursuing higher education is a life-changing event. For many college students, it's the first time many of them get to assert their authority and independence as adults. Whether it's predominantly Black or white, everyone's college experience is unique. The most important thing at the end of the day is that Black kids are attending and finishing.