Report: HBCUs Receive 178 Times Less Funding Than The Average Ivy League School

Report: HBCUs Receive 178 Times Less Funding Than The Average Ivy League School

Though historically Black colleges and universities, aka HBCUs, have certainly gained more mainstream popularity, funding for the institutions and the students they serve continues to be an issue.

A recent report released by the philanthropic group Candid and ABFE—which advocates for investments in Black communities—shows that the eight Ivy League schools received $5.5 billion from the 1,000 largest U.S. foundations compared to just $45 million given to the 99 HBCUs. According to the Associated Press, foundation support for HBCUs has steadily declined, with a 30% decrease between 2002 and 2019. “We were not surprised by the findings because philanthropy generally funds Black-led nonprofit organizations disproportionately less than other similarly situated organizations,” said Susan Taylor Batten, ABFE’s president and CEO. “However, we were surprised by the data that indicated the enormity of the disparate funding between Ivy League colleges and HBCUs.”

It’s unclear what the true culprit is for the disparity as some experts point to systemic racism while others point to limited connections between philanthropists and HBCU leaders, according to the Associated Press. Whatever the true root cause, it’s certainly unfortunate as HBCUs account for 80% of Black judges, 50% of Black doctors, and 50% of Black lawyers, while HBCU graduates earn $900,000 more in their lifetimes than Black graduates from predominately white institutions, according to the United Negro College Fund.

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Though funding has increased in the wake of the racial protests of 2020, Lodriguez Murray, UNCF’s vice president of public policy and government affairs, believes that underfunding will continue to be an issue as HBCUs try to dig themselves out of longstanding financial holes. “We consider this to be a drop in the bucket and the need is still extremely severe,” said Murray. “So even though there has been greater funding, there are still greater needs.”

While many corporations made big investments with promises of dismantling systemic racism at its roots, philanthropic groups saw an opportunity to use HBCU support to prove their commitment to inclusivity without first addressing the prejudices foundational to their funding.