6 Black Community Colleges Added To Thurgood Marshall College Fund Network

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF ) recently added six two-year institutions to its roster.

All six historically Black community colleges—Bishop State, Drake State, Gadsden State, Lawson State, Shelton State, and Trenholm State— are located in Alabama and are now eligible to receive scholarships from the historic college fund, Bama Buzz reports. Alabama has more Black community colleges than any other state, providing over 9,000 jobs, workforce up-skilling, and adding $600 million to the state’s economy.

The TMCF nonprofit supports more than 300,000 students attending HBCUs across the country. Leaders of the community colleges have been advocating for a partnership that would bring new resources and awareness to the schools that tend to go unnoticed. Kathy Murphy, president of Gadsden State, says the narrative of community colleges being overlooked has changed as more jobs don’t require a bachelor’s degree. She also claims the scholarships will help her underprivileged students. “I do think the pivot has come as the relevance of the two-year system has heightened,” Murphy said, according to Inside Higher Ed.

“Some of our students have lived in some levels of generational poverty. So, any support that they can get to be able to come to college, that financial support and that motivation … all of that is just so important.”

TMCF President and CEO Harry Williams calls the move a “perfect marriage.” He visited the campuses in March and, after meeting with administrators, faculty members, and students, decided it just made sense. “Adding community colleges to our membership is part of an intentional move toward a more inclusive talent strategy,” Williams said. “A four-year degree is one path but not the only path to career success. We are expanding our reach. We are expanding our focus.”

While this is a pilot initiative, with no plans to bring more two-year colleges into the network, he said he’s open to talking with other college leaders who want to join.