Top HBCUs Partner With Non-Profit to Provide College Courses For Low-Income High School Students

Howard University, Spelman College, and Morehouse College are teaming up with non-profit, nicknamed ‘NEEL,’ to bridge the gap between higher education and underserved communities.

The National Education Equity Lab (NEEL) has created a nationwide initiative to give free courses for college credit to high schools serving large numbers of low-income students, Inside Higher Ed reports.

According to NEEL, teaming with HBCUs will bring a different perspective into the program as it focuses on increasing the socio-economic situation for Black and first-generation college students. Leaders at the colleges are looking at NEEL as a way to enhance their mission and scout prospects who didn’t initially consider college at all.

The courses are designed to help low-income high school students gain confidence with college-level work.

According to Forbes, the Lab works as follows: School districts that fit the criteria of serving low-income students are invited to participate; the opportunity is then presented to principals in Title 1 high schools, who hand-pick the high school teachers to assist the college faculty offering the course as well as the students. On average, 25 students participate in each course.

The courses are mainly offered to juniors and seniors. However, academically gifted sophomores have been known to participate.

The Lab began in 2019 with a Harvard course named “Poetry in America: The City From Whitman to Hip Hop” being offered to 25 low-income high schools in 11 different cities. Howard joined in 2020; Spelman and Morehouse are new to the program.

Howard professors teach courses on principles of criminal justice, college algebra and environmental studies and justice. They reach 1,915 students at 110 different high schools in 16 states and Washington, D.C., according to Inside Higher Ed.

Spelman College’s first course is The Education of Black Girls, with 50 students from four high schools in three states. Morehouse is starting to prepare a sociology course called Social Problems that will start in the fall and a professional communication course in the spring.