Right now, high school seniors everywhere are looking to apply to college. For Black students, this question often comes up: "HBCUs or PWIs?" No matter what you choose, taking the higher-education route will no doubt make your family proud. But knowing how your experience will be on campus for the next few years and after you graduate is important in making this big decision.
Although many HBCUs struggle to keep their doors open and to acquire financial stability, their presence continues to prove invaluable as Black students who graduate from these institutions have greater overall well-being than those who do not attend, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Of those surveyed, 51 percent of Blacks who attended HBCUs were more likely to say they have "purpose well-being" than 43 percent of Blacks who attended a non-HBCU. The greatest difference was in the category of "financial well-being." Forty percent of HBCU grads say they were thriving in the area of money, while 29 percent of non-HBCU grads were able to say the same.
"The profoundly different experiences that Black graduates of HBCUs and non-HBCUs are having in college may leave HBCU graduates feeling better prepared for life afterward and potentially lead these two groups to live vastly different lives after college," Gallup reports.
Historically Black colleges are a product of the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. The abolition of slavery left many Blacks with more freedom to obtain education. Being that many Blacks were not allowed into white institutions because of skin color, Black colleges became their homes for higher learning and there a rich culture grew that is still cherished by alumni annually at Homecoming celebrations.
In the present day, some have questioned the relevancy of HBCUs, since for decades African-Americans have had the option of attending non-HBCUs. Additionally, HBCUs may not have the hefty endowment to provide scholarships that other top-ranking universities can.
HBCUs may have their long list of issues, but the experience proves to be unmatched based on those polled in the Gallup survey. Fifty-eight percent of HBCU students said, "My professors at My University cared about me as a person," compared to 25 percent of students who attended a non-HBCU. Thirty-one percent of HBCU grads said they "felt support," while 12 percent of non-HBCU grads agreed.
Although many continue to sleep on the power of HBCUs, it's clear they provide a learning environment for African-Americans that isn't necessarily found elsewhere.
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(Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Landov)