Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have seen enrollment rise in response to racial protests connected with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. According to Complex Magazine, enrollment has increased for the freshman classes of “Shaw University (49 percent), South Carolina State (39 percent), Tuskegee University (32 percent), Virginia State University (30 percent) and Dillard University (22 percent)” to name a few. In addition, a 2015 Gallup Poll revealed HBCU graduates felt they were better off financially, socially, and physically than their non-HBCU counterparts (check out the Gallup Poll HERE).
Clearly the solution for young black students is to attend HBCUs right?
…Not so fast….
The truth is, education is a tricky subject. It’s the only sector in America where you can be the best (i.e. have a 4.0), and not actually be the best (i.ei having a 4.0 doesn’t mean you’re the smartest person in a class). The benefit of an HBCU is that it has all the statistical pieces for student success. They employee primarily black professors (statistically students perform better when taught by someone who looks like them), have smaller class sizes, and an easily accessible educational staff. The negatives, however, still exist. For those unaware, alot of HBCU’s struggle financially which can lead to curriculum not being as advanced as non-HBCU schools. Equipment and technology also suffer when compared to other schools as well.
HBCUs are a great option for students who want to experience four years of non Euro-centric education while learning skills for future employment, however they are not universal answers to America’s racial problems. As a graduate of an HBCU, I loved my college experience, but I also understand that the real solution to current tensions is a cooperative effort by everyone, no matter their educational background.