Michael Roberts has done more than study finance at historically black Benedict College. He’s played football for the college, joined a fraternity and proposed to his girlfriend.

Pretty typical, except that Roberts is one of the few whites who attend one of the nation’s traditionally black colleges. “When I tell people I attend Benedict, they comment, ’Well, you’re not black,”’ Roberts said. “But it’s still a school, I’m still getting an education. You don’t have to be black to attend.”

Michael Roberts poses next to Benedict College founder Bathsmeba Benedict. (Mary Ann Chastain/AP)

Officials for the nation’s historically black schools say Roberts’ experience is not that unusual. White students are being actively recruited, and attracting them has become easier for a variety of reasons, including the offer of scholarships and lower tuitions than those paid at non-black schools.

Private, historically black schools cost an average of $10,000 less per year than their traditionally white counterparts, according to the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.

‘Increasingly black and brown world’ The head of the association says lower costs are not the only thing the schools have to offer. Whites who attend the schools are preparing for an “increasingly black and brown world,” said Lezli Baskerville, the association’s president and CEO.

“If you want to know how to live in one, you can’t grow up in an all-white neighborhood, go to a predominantly white school, white cultural and social events, go to a predominantly white university and then thrive in a world that is today more black, more brown than before,” Baskerville said.

White students say they’ve taken valuable experiences from their time at black colleges. Skin color, the students say, is much more of a factor away from the campuses than it is on them.

“You should get to know people based on who they are,” Roberts said. “You can’t judge a book by its cover.”

Read more at MSNBC