While Howard University rides a wave of acclaim, some Black colleges are struggling

By: | July 15, 2021

Two recent high-profile faculty appointments could be a fundraising and enrollment bonanza for Howard University, one of the nation’s most prestigious historically Black colleges and universities. But many other Black schools are struggling.

Some, especially smaller private colleges, have been fighting for survival for years, with weak endowments, aging buildings and steady enrollment declines, all made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

An Associated Press analysis of enrollment and endowment data has found wide disparities among 102 historically Black colleges and universities and a further divide between private and public institutions.

The five wealthiest private Black colleges had endowments ranging from $73,000 per student to more than $200,000, far above the median endowment of less than $16,000 per student. The largest endowment for a public Black college was less than $25,000 per student, though the public schools also receive state aid.

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