March is HBCU Awareness Month
In recent years, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have seen a significant increase in exposure and media coverage. Since 2020, these institutions have had an impressive rise in enrollment. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, “the percentage of Black students enrolled at HBCUs fell from 18 percent in 1976 to 8 percent in 2014 and then increased to 9 percent in 2020.”
Schools like Morehouse College, Morgan State University, and Howard University have even seen increases as high as 60 percent in undergraduate applications. This increase may be credited to the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement. As students witnessed civil unrest and the killings of innocent Black people, they felt drawn to schools where they are the majority and that give them a safe space to be themselves.
“We saw the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, and then we saw students say, ‘Hey, I want to go to a Black school. I want to be safe. I want to enjoy my time,” Paulina Webber, a senior at Dillard University, told NPR.
HBCUs’ time in the spotlight can also be attributed to the election of Howard alum, Vice President Kamala Harris, and the efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to support them. Moreover, Black colleges have continued to gain visibility by drawing high-profile student-athletes and coaches like Deion Sanders and Eddie George. Although HBCUs seem to finally be getting the recognition they deserve, they are still in dire need of support.
Despite the spike in exposure and enrollment, HBCUs continue to be chronically underfunded. According to Forbes, compared to their predominantly white counterparts, the nation’s Black land-grant universities have been underfunded by at least $12.8 billion over the last three decades.
HBCUs are a vital part of American history and the higher education system and must be protected. Not only do they provide a safe space for Black students, but they are the producers of Black excellence, innovators, and leaders. There is a part we can all play in the preservation and the continued success of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Find out a few ways below how to be an HBCU ally!
1Join an Alumni Association
Joining the alumni association of your HBCU is a great step to becoming an HBCU ally. It allows you to network with other alumni who share the same goal of bettering your alma mater and puts you in the perfect position to give back. You can help organize scholarship and school supply drives, assist with recruitment, and provide motivation for current students. Check out our HBCU alumni association list to find and join the national alumni association for your school today.