Is The Black Lives Matter Movement Inspiring Students To Attend HBCUs?
There are approximately 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States. Many were established to educate African-Americans following the civil war and continued to prosper during an era when white institutions refused to admit black students. At one point, HBCUs were responsible for educating 80 percent of black college grads. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed, it opened the doors for students of color to attend predominately white colleges and HBCU enrollment declined. Now, many HBCUs are seeing a surge in enrollment and experts say the Black Lives Matter movement and increased attention to racial tension on predominately white campuses could be behind the enrollment trend.
Maryland is home to four HBCUs. Enrollment is down at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, but enrollment is up at Coppin State University, Morgan State University and Bowie State University. This year, 389 students enrolled as freshman at Coppin; that’s up from 256 last fall. Morgan has seen a 31 percent increase in freshman enrollment --around 1120 freshman enrolled this semester, compared to 886 in 2013. Bowie welcomed its largest-ever freshman class of 967 – a 63 percent jump over last year.
Dr. David Wilson is the president of Morgan State University. Dr. Michael Freeman is the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Coppin State University. Dr. Marybeth Gasman is a professor of higher education and the Director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania. They join Tom to discuss enrollment trends and how HBCUs can uniquely support students of color.