Phi Beta Cons

How Many HBCUs?

North Carolina has five historically black public universities. In an era when minority students enjoy a ride range of college choices, five HBCUs might be too many.

That’s part of the argument Jesse Saffron makes in yesterday’s article for the Pope Center:

Today, only about 10 percent of black college students attend historically black schools. Desegregation, along with a flourishing higher education market, have removed the barriers that at one time left many black students without access to advanced learning…While that trend has been good for black students overall, it has significantly affected HBCUs—whether private or public, elite, or lesser-known.

But Saffron finds that falling enrollment is not the only problem plaguing HBCUs. The schools also struggle to maintain academic standards, graduation rates, endowments, and alumni donations.

Elizabeth City State University’s situation is particularly dire. In the wake of crumbling enrollment, the university’s administration fraudulently admitted students who didn’t meet minimum academic standards or requirements for financial aid. The university’s path forward is unclear.

Saffron calls on policymakers to take bold action. Read his full analysis here.

Jenna A. RobinsonJenna Ashley Robinson is the president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy. Before becoming president, she was the center's director of outreach. She was previously the ...


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