Black students are gravitating toward institutions where they are seen, accepted, and feel safe and comfortable in learning environments.

Students are flocking to HBCUs–here’s why


Black students are gravitating toward institutions where they are seen, accepted, and feel safe and comfortable in learning environments

Take Deion Sanders, aka “Prime Time,” head football coach at Jackson State and a former NFL player who has expressed the value of Black college athletes attending like-minded institutions where they intrinsically fit in. Having his endorsement is vital to attracting college athletes, and ultimately ties back to the overdue recognition HBCUs have recently received.

Black students have noted the difference between attending predominantly white institutions (PWI) versus HBCUs; they don’t have to think twice about whether they belong, and they can instead focus on finding their group of friends within a network of students with similar backgrounds and shared experiences.

Innovative and Equitable Courseware Designed for Black Learners

Historically, by default, academic courseware has been created to meet the needs of the general student population of predominantly white, middle-class students. As college enrollment has shifted, many edtech companies have embraced the opportunity to better reach and teach historically marginalized students, and some are partnering with HBCUs to design new, innovative courseware centered around equity. Edtech firms need to continually think about how different environments affect students, provide support by understanding systemic disadvantages Black students have experienced over time, and intentionally co-create solutions with these students. 

Looking Forward to Creating Equity for All

There is an enormous opportunity for tech companies to strengthen their own role in understanding all the students they serve, and to recruit and hire employees with diverse backgrounds. We can take a page out of Adobe’s digital handbook as they partner with HBCUs to expand their talent pipeline by providing learning and career opportunities to Black students to achieve equitable digital tech and creativity skills.

Moving forward, we also need to look at HBCUs as the experts in serving Black students. Data suggests that they are retaining and graduating more Black students than most non-HBCUs. This is not by chance, and they deserve that recognition, along with increased funding and resources to continue to play a significant role in educating, understanding, and creating opportunities for the students they serve. I believe this is only the beginning of creating equity for all. 

eSchool Media Contributors

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