It's a Family Affair! An HBCU Is Changing Its Admission Policy To Allow Students To Bring Family
Black History Month Education News

It’s a Family Affair! An HBCU Is Changing Its Admission Policy To Allow Students To Bring Family Members

Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell meets with students in a college classroom. Sorrell applied a new admissions policy for admitted students to select two family members or friends to attend college with them.

Paul Quinn College is shaking up the educational system by permitting students to pick two family members or friends to enroll alongside them and allow them to work towards a certificate or a degree, the Texas Tribune reports.

African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers established the college in Waco in 1872 to educate formerly enslaved people and their children. In 1990, the college later moved to Dallas.

The college will implement its new admission policy this fall. However, a few conditions apply; for incoming students to take advantage of this new beneficial direction, an accepted student must have a 3.0 grade-point average and qualify for federal financial aid.

If a student is accepted with at least a 3.0 grade-point average and qualifies for federal financial aid, they can choose two family members or friends to enroll with them.

While the cause is noble, the question is, why would Paul Quinn College offer such a generous educational path for students and their family members and friends?

The answer is simple yet poignant; their goal is to improve a family’s financial footing and alleviate the pressure of first-generation college students. When the whole family is working towards a goal like a certificate or a degree, the college reasons they will all benefit.

“Your teammates matter,” Michael Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, said to The Texas Tribune. “If you can invest in your teammates, if you can invest in your village, that makes the village stronger and that improves the odds and opportunities for your village to thrive.”

Family members and friends who enroll to pursue their education will be encouraged to go through the online degree program or achieve their certification through the school’s PQCx, a credential program. Sorrell understands that most adults have to work, and online schooling would be the most beneficial option.

A higher education policy and sociology professor at Temple University, Sara Goldrick-Rab, said this new model could improve retention and increase enrollment. This new strategy can assist first-generation college students who often grapple with the guilt of being the first college-educated individual in their family.

“He’s recognizing that you can take a student and get them more education,” she said of Sorrell. “But if the family doesn’t have resources, there is a pull towards home that can bring them down.”

Goldrick-Rab observed that most educational institutions might not be able to follow this model, but for PQC, it could be successful.

“Bringing people with you who you know makes college a family affair,” she said. “Which, to be honest with you, I think would particularly resonate with African American families who are very close-knit. That is wicked smart.”