While colleges and universities nationwide have struggled to enroll students over the past several years, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are seeing a significant increase in application volume and enrollment of Black students.
In the past eight years alone, the number of Black student applications has increased by a staggering 138 percent. The primary drivers impacting this pattern in increased enrollments may surprise you.
Shifting Demographics of Students Attending College
Prior to the pandemic, a tectonic shift was taking place in higher education. The number of Black students enrolling in college was outshining the enrollment of middle-class, white students. During the pandemic, that trend was exacerbated by the racial justice movement that began in May 2020. Social media played a hand in students viewing HBCUs as an avenue to support their increased need for psychological safety in pursuing their post-secondary goals.
Since then, many institutions received an influx of funding that has enabled HBCUs to revamp their infrastructure to recruit students, particularly as it relates to how they interact and connect with students. Additionally, the social and racial incidents highlighted within the media have influenced Black students to have a stronger connection to their Black identity, making attending an HBCU that much more substantial.
HBCUs Embody a Culture of Inclusivity
Black students, along with students from other historically marginalized communities, are gravitating toward institutions where they are seen, accepted, and feel safe and comfortable in their learning environment. From a cultural perspective, HBCUs put a significant emphasis on creating and fostering a culture of inclusivity and learning at their institutions. What’s more, many influential HBCU alumni have been vocal about their college journey and experience, endorsing the many benefits of belonging at their institution, where they thrive both academically and socially.
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