The Contribution Of Historically Black Colleges And Universities To Upward Mobility

from Brookings

Black students have been (slowly) closing the gap on whites in terms of in high school test scores and graduation rates. But the divide at the college level remains wide. In 2007, the gap in postsecondary attainment (at least an associate degree) between blacks and whites was 13.3 percent (41.0 percent vs. 27.7 percent). The gap remained in the double digits, at 13.6 percent (46.9 percent vs. 33.3 percent), in 2015.


Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) serve just 0.1 percentof the overall student population, but account for 20 percent of black students who complete bachelor’s degrees. The performance of these institutions is often questioned, given that they have graduation rates about 21 percentage points lower than non-HBCUs, as well as debt levels that often exceed those reported by students at predominantly white institutions. HBCUs have also faced questions over their capacity to generate consistent and positive earnings gains for their graduates.

The claim of HBCUs to be engines of upward mobility can now, however, be tested more directly. New administrative data just released along with a paper from researchers at the Equal Opportunity Project shows that HBCUs actually have a better track record at fostering mobility than many thought.

More here.

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One Comment

  1. To many Black people of America, they would consider going to a Historically Black College and University or “H.B.C.U.” a unique experience you just will not get anywhere else. You are surrounded by many people who look like you and share the same culture as you. It’s a place that you can truly feel at home when you’re away from home. That’s also because to Black people everyone is our cousin which is something other cultures would understand especially at Predominantly White Institution or “P.W.I”. The article, “The Contribution of Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Upward Mobility,” written by Richard V. Reves and Nathan Joo discuss the upward rise in HCUS’s and how they statistically compare to other institutions like PWI’s
    The article brings up the question of “Do Black Colleges Help?” when reading further its very apparent to me that even though Black colleges make up only .1 percent of the student population, the impart is still extremely large for black students. In fact, that .1 percent of the student population is made up of 20 percent of Black students who complete bachelor’s degrees. The article also proves, “HBCUs are doing a better job than the average postsecondary institution, in terms of vaulting lowest-income kids into the top quintile as adults. Of those HBCUs that the researchers were able to collect data for, over 85 percent had a higher “mobility score” than the average across all institutions in the U.S.” So many HBCU’s are vaulting the lowest income students into the higher income class after graduation. So, to answer the original question asked in the beginning of the article, “Do Black Colleges Help?” Yes, they do indeed help!
    Now that the article statistically proves that Black colleges do help, what the article doesn’t touch upon is the experience that can relate to HBCU’s student success. When speaking to a person attending a Black college there something “indescribable” that is just simply different. The atmosphere is filled with so many diverse Black minds. So being in the classroom would just make a black person feel as comfortable as possible. Especially when you have Black professors that actually care about you and completely understand your struggle.
    Some would argue that going to an HBCU isn’t preparing you enough for the real world where black people are the minority in the workplace. The counter to that argument would be that Black people have the rest of their life to be the minority, so they’re going to spend the four years of college being around who makes them the most comfortable. It’s truly not anything against any other race but there is nothing like being around your culture and specifically at HBCU’s, being around your new family!

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