Yes, There Is A Shortage of Black Men At HBCUs— But Educators And Leaders Are Pushing To Change This Narrative

There’s a shortage of Black men at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). 

While a myriad of social issues can explain the shortage of Black men seeking higher education at HBCUs, The Washington Post spoke to experts to better the problem. One of the reasons for the shortage, The Washington Post writes, is that many Black men and boys feel that they cannot intellectually compete on the college level. 

K-12 research director at the United Negro College Fund, Meredith Anderson coined the term “belief gap,”  which she describes as “what Black men and boys can achieve and what others, such as teachers or college counselors think they can.” 

“The data bears this out. Non-Black teachers have lower expectations for Black students than Black teachers have, studies show,” The Washington Post writes. “Black boys are more than three times as likely as White boys to be suspended from school. Black students also are underrepresented in programs for gifted and talented students and in Advanced Placement courses.” 

Winston Coffee, college liaison of the Midnight Golf Program, told The Washington Post that college enrollment also signifies “delayed gratification.” Coffee suggests that waiting years to make a significant amount of money isn’t appealing to potential college students. 

“When talking to Black men who are not interested in college, Coffee tries to understand their motivation and asks how college might become a part of how they want to better themselves,” The Washington Post writes.  ‘He also invites former program members who have gone to college to visit and speak to high-schoolers. Their influence matters — Black men with college degrees generally earn more than those without degrees.” 

Jacory Benard, the admissions recruiter at Morehouse College, added that is a challenge for Black boys just to exist in America.  

Another factor speaking to the shortage of Black men at HBCUs is costs. While HBCUs do offer scholarships, Private White Institutions have the backing to offer more funding to potential students. 

“Students are shopping for the best opportunity for them in terms of cost. They’re going to go where it is the cheapest they can attend,” Adriel Hilton, ​​vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management at Southern University in New Orleans, said to The Washington Post

Also, the Black experience is broad and diverse, and many schools do not speak to their respective experiences. 

“The mission of an HBCU can’t be fulfilled if we aren’t making a point to educate all Black people,” Shjan Carter, a student at Howard University, said to The Washington Post