Can Netflix’s Commitment To HBCUs Help Lower Student Loan Debt?

CBx Vibe:Hbcu” Angelo Love

By Shakora Bamberg

  • Netflix founder Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin have committed to donating $120 million to HBCUs
  • 86.6% of Black students taking out federal loans to attend four-year colleges

Netflix (NFLX -1.80%) founder Reed Hastings and his wife Patty Quillin have committed to donating $120 million to Black higher education and it could be a game changer. Education is one area where Black Americans are hurting the most due to institutionalized racism-especially with student loans. It’s possible for this to be a start in closing the racial wealth gap through cutting down on student loan debt.

Why This Matters: Students of color typically rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Eliminating this would narrow the racial wealth gap for young families, with 86.6% of Black students taking out federal loans to attend four-year colleges, compared to just 59.9% of white students. An average Black graduate has $7,400 more in student debt than a white peer. Not to mention that white borrowers pay down their education debt at a rate of 10% a year, compared with 4% for Black borrowers.

The median endowment for American historically Black colleges is $15.7 million

Endowments at historically Black colleges and universities remain significantly lower than at other colleges, according to the Los Angeles Times. The median endowment for American historically Black colleges is $15.7 million and about $36.8 million for non-HBCUs. Hastings and his wife are specifically giving to The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), Morehouse College, and Spelman College each received $40 million. The couple has allocated its donation in the form of scholarships.

Hastings acknowledges his initial lack of understanding regarding the importance of HBCUs. “Because of the social isolation in America, there’s less awareness in the white community of the role that HBCUs have played over the last 150 years,” Hastings said.

Situational Awareness It is a powerful thing to see leading CEO’s and top companies donating to change the higher education narrative for HBCUs. The donation is not Hasting’s first gift to HBCU’s. In 2016, he created the $100-million Hasting Fund toward education and $1.5 million went toward the UNCF. Also, Apple (AAPL -1.02%) recently launched a $100 million initiative to promote racial equality, promising to increase spending with black businesses and recruiting HBCU students.

CBx Vibe:Hbcu” Angelo Love

CONTRIBUTOR

Shakora Bamberg

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