Data Shows Some PWIs Are Just as Bad For Black Students as They've Always Been. So What Will HBCUs Do About It?

Last fall, New York University School of Medicine officials announced that all students accepted into the program beginning this fall would go tuition free.

Just over six months since the announcement, applications to the school have increased by more than 50%. African Americans comprise the biggest ethnic group seeking admission into the globally competitive medical college, but over the last 25 years, they are among the lowest in matriculation rates for minority medical school attendees. From Inside Higher Ed:

NYU Med saw a 102 percent increase, to 2,020, in applications from those who are a member of a group that is underrepresented in medicine (including black, Latino and Native American students). The largest percentage increase was among those who identify as African American, black, or Afro-Caribbean. Applications from this group went up 142 percent, to 1,062.

Medical schools have pushed for years to attract a more diverse student body, and have in some respects succeeded. But the biggest gains in recent years have been among Asian Americans, and black enrollments have largely been stagnant, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Admissions Surge After NYU Med Goes Tuition-Free – Inside Higher Ed (Scott Jaschik)

It is more than a notion at schools outside of New York City. In Tennessee, a recent study shows that in spite of the state’s free community college tuition assistance program, graduation rates for African Americans students in the state’s public institutions remain lower than rates for white and Hispanic counterparts, along with lower rates for enrollment and retention.

Last month, the Dallas News profiled the growing crisis of black male acheivement among its public colleges and universities – Prairie View A&M University was the only public university in the state to graduate more than 100 black males in 2016.

The message is clear – predominantly white systems and institutions are doing an increasingly effective job at making the case to eager black students, but their return on investment is likely to be just as bad as it has ever been – even when the cost is virtually free.

Few things are more persuasive than the idea of ‘free,’ but there are several HBCUs breaking the stereotype threats of high costs, low job prospects and great marching bands and parties all in between.

Benedict College cut tuition costs. Virginia State University creates narratives around its professional training opportunities. Paul Quinn College convinces students that enrollment means being a part of nation-building.

PWIs are giving HBCUs every opportunity to take their students back with compelling data on PWI failings and HBCU enrichment. But to recruit today’s black students, the message has to be delivered in that order to counteract the smokescreen realities of free tuition, larger facilities, and phantom earning potential from PWI training; not the other way around.

3 thoughts on “Data Shows Some PWIs Are Just as Bad For Black Students as They've Always Been. So What Will HBCUs Do About It?

  1. HBCUs need to continue to do what they always have done be a safe place for African-American culture and diversity. The fact that PWI cannot and will never be a place that puts an African-American student first means that HBCUs need to continue to remain true to the foundation that created them.

  2. HBCU’s do nothing but reinforce a victimhood mentality. “PWI”s are a thing of the past. If anything is true we now have PBC. Universities are so diverse now and it is a good thing to see unlike HBCU.

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