Historically Black colleges and universities all over the country have faced financial instability over the years.
Now, new statistics reveal even more challenges for HBUs -- enrollment is on the decline.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, “more than 6,000 fewer students attended the 101 Black colleges and universities in the U.S. during the 2018-19 school year. The 291,767 total was down from the 298,134 in the previous year”
This represents the lowest numbers since 2001, when there were 289,985 students at historically black colleges.
NBC News reports there are multiple reasons why HBCUs are struggling. In October of 2011, the U.S. Department of Education made it more difficult to acquire the PLUS Loan, which caused HBCUs to lose $50 million. At the time, the Obama administration put together an appeals process and according to The Undefeated, “The vast majority of students who knew how to access it were successful in reversing loan denials. But many students never knew they could have the rejections reconsidered.”
Online colleges have also lured away HBCU students. Schools like DeVry and the University of Phoenix are cheaper and more flexible with their schedules.
NBC News also claims the lack of investment in “some campuses and facilities” have turned off students.
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HBCUs students also experience more bias with student loans. In February, a report, titled “Education Redlining,” says students of historically Black colleges and universities or those attending Hispanic-serving institutions were offered loans that cost thousands of dollars more than those who attended predominantly white collegiate institutions.
That said, schools like North Carolina A&T, Morehouse College and Howard University are thriving. However, it is smaller colleges like Cheyney University, the first historically Black college, Tennessee University and Bethune-Cookman College that are struggling.
HBCUs have also felt the pain of the coronavirus. HBCU leaders are advocating for additional federal funding in the wake of the pandemic.
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