CBx Daily

Back To Black: Why Students Need HBCUs To Fend Off Cyborg Universities

Jun 16

By Lyric Prince

  • HCBUs place Black graduates in job opportunities at higher rates than PWIs
  • Cyborg universities promote partnership between Silicon Valley and Ivy League schools

A New York University professor predicted that Silicon Valley would make efforts to connect with top-tier schools, creating so-called “cyborg universities.” Pairings such as MIT and Google (GOOG +0.67%) for instance, will be normalized with the rapidly changing university admissions process post- COVID-19. These education ivory towers have historically and covertly excluded students of color in favor of wealthy, white legacy candidates that had reduced academic and educational requirements of admission. As a result, minority students may be disproportionately affected by this proposed cultural shift in higher education and should perhaps double down on HBCUs.

Why This Matters: Due to increasing racial unrest at predominantly white institutions (PWIs), enrollment at HBCUs have sharply increased, with some colleges seeing upwards of 30% more students enrolling into their freshman classes. While HBCUs have had well-noted issues with their endowments in recent years, they have higher rates of awarding degrees to students of color, job placement success, and alumni networking resources. These things better prepare and service students of color that will likely be compelled to transition to an online environment. HBCUs, by necessity, need to lead the fight to digitize and standardize educational offerings to Black communities, with or without the help of Silicon Valley.

Will cyborg universities indirectly worsen the student loan issue?

Long affected by both discriminatory admissions and the digital divide, Black students need to leverage their community and HBCU networks. Combined with Silicon Valley’s similar issues with exclusion, students of color must now determine if elite universities' increased capabilities of serving their population via virtual classrooms hamper the value of their still-expensive degrees.

Situational Awareness: Black women, the demographic in America with the most advanced degrees, also see the least benefit of said education in their careers and face additional financial challenges to obtain degrees in the first place. This leaves many people questioning whether a transition to cyborg universities will indirectly worsen the student loan issue. Black students on average carry 20% more than white students.  

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