HBCUs Could Face Another Economic Hit Due To The Pandemic

CBx Vibe:School Spirit” Kanye West

By Justin Moore

  • Cash strapped HBCUs face the challenge of campuses with no students  
  • HBCUs generate $14.8B in economic impact annually

Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) have proved over time to deliver a big economic bang with traditionally less money than their Predominantly White Institution (PWI) counterparts. Although enrollment into HBCUs has been struggling in recent years, they generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually. However, in the wake of the recent coronavirus outbreak, the same challenges that have plagued HBCUs for years such as insufficient funding, puts a large percentage of students from low to middle income families and relatively small endowments, make them especially vulnerable.

Why This Matters: HBCUs provide more than just education equity, which is why there were some concerns around whether they would be able to adjust on the fly when the threat of the coronavirus hit their schools. Of course they responded by swiftly clearing campuses and switching to online courses in a relatively seamless fashion. Howard University received $13 million through the CARES Act to help defray the expenses directly caused by the coronavirus, and to enable grants to students for expenses. Not to mention that increased technology demands come at a time where revenue streams such as room & board and bookstores are disappearing.

Howard University received $13 million through the CARES Act to help defray the expenses directly caused by the coronavirus

The nation’s 102 registered HBCU’s in 19 states, D.C. and the Virgin Islands play a vital role in our economy educating almost 300,00 students annually. With approximately 80% Black and 70% low to middle income students, total revenue for HBCUs in 2017 was $8.3 billion, with $1.9 billion from student tuition and fees. In 2018 Kamala Harris and Doug Jones put effort into increasing the federal funding by 14% going from $63.3 million to $72.3 million for HBCUs specifically.

Situational Awareness: HBCUs are showing trademark resilience, like Paul Quinn College in Dallas that has acquired loaner laptops for students who need them. Also, Howard University in Washington D.C. has established a scholarship fund to help students facing financial hardships. Then there’s the CARES Act which will provide some financial assistance to HBCUs and other educational institutions. However, as HBCUs receive the majority of their funding from tuition fees, students returning to campus once “Stay Home” orders are lifted, will be essential for HBCUs to continue serving the nation.

CBx Vibe:School Spirit” Kanye West

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