Engage in higher ed’s conversations about racial equity and inclusion. Delivered on Tuesdays. To read this newsletter as soon as it sends, sign up to receive it in your email inbox.
From: Maggie Hicks
Subject: Race on Campus: After affirmative-action decision, HBCUs plead their relevance
Welcome to Race on Campus. It’s still too early to understand the scope of last month’s Supreme Court decision. This week, we talk to HBCU experts about the role they think the colleges will play in the coming years.
We're sorry. Something went wrong.
We are unable to fully display the content of this page.
The most likely cause of this is a content blocker on your computer or network.
If you continue to experience issues, please contact us at 202-466-1032 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to Race on Campus. It’s still too early to understand the scope of last month’s Supreme Court decision. This week, we talk to HBCU experts about the role they think the colleges will play in the coming years. If you have ideas, comments, or questions about this newsletter, write to me: email@example.com.
HBCUs predict enrollment surge after affirmative-action ruling
Since the Supreme Court of the United States outlawed race-conscious admissions last month, historically Black colleges and universities have predicted an influx of new applicants and are making a concerted pitch for more funding.
In its June 29 ruling, the court effectively ended race-conscious admissions in the United States, determining that the practice is unconstitutional and discriminates against white and Asian American students. While the decision left many colleges worrying that fewer students of color will apply, some experts predict that HBCUs will see an increase in Black students seeking a more inclusive environment.
In the fall of 2022, undergraduate enrollment at the nation’s 107 HBCUs increased 2.5 percent, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, although that growth has been uneven.
“What we’re talking about really is a redistribution of existing students,” said James V. Koch, co-author of Vital and Valuable: The Relevance of HBCUs to American Life and Education. “Just about as many Black students are going to go to college as did before. They’ll simply be going to a slightly different selection of institutions.”
Experts believe the ruling will mainly affect more-selective HBCUs, such as Howard University, over lesser-known regional colleges, such as Virginia Union University or the University of the District of Columbia. HBCUs like Howard will also very likely offer larger financial-aid packages and scholarships, said Koch, who has also served as president of the University of Montana at Missoula and Old Dominion University, in Virginia.
Administrators at HBCUs worry that the surge of students could further strain historically underfunded programs. Howard University, for example, is preparing to make admissions processes more selective to account for limited space and resources, The Washington Post reported. Some have also already started a fund-raising push in the wake of the decision, including Howard and the United Negro College Fund.
With more students come more tuition dollars, said Omari Swinton, an economics professor at Howard and co-author of Vital and Valuable. Swinton and Koch also found that some HBCUs have excess capacity, and can probably handle the influx of students, at least for the next few years.
“Having more students knocking at their doors is a good problem,” Koch said.
Still, Swinton said the true effects of the decision won’t be entirely clear until the next admissions cycle, as many colleges had already completed admissions decisions before the ruling.
- Evelyn Boyd Granville, one of the first Black women to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from an American university and a prominent HBCU professor, recently passed away at the age of 99. “We accepted education as the means to rise above the limitations that a prejudiced society endeavored to place upon us,” she once said. (The Washington Post)
- After Texas A&M University at College Station’s president resigned over the botched hiring of a Black journalism professor, Black students and alumni reflect on the college’s commitment to serving students of color. (The Texas Tribune, The Chronicle)
—Daarel Burnette II