HBCUs Outpace Flagship PWIs in Black Freshman Enrollment

The Hechinger Report recently produced a report on African-American and Latino in-state student enrollment trends at public flagship campuses. The results were a dismal showing of disparities between the kind of access black students have at large, publicly funded research institutions.

Many state flagship universities leave black and Latino students behind

But if racial disparities exist in such great numbers at PWIs, where are black students enrolling? A few hundred students at flagship PWIs doesn’t match demographic data for most states, and fall short of high school graduation trends.

Not surprisingly, historically black colleges appear to offer an antidote. A review of total black first-year student enrollment in 2015 at the five worst flagship institutions listed in the Hechinger Report study, along with corresponding data from public HBCUs in the same states, reveals that some states’ largest black colleges are granting access to in-state and out-state-black first-year students at far greater rates than predominantly white colleges with far greater resources for scholarships, student support, and program offerings.

2015 African American First-Year Freshmen Enrollment (Total Students)


Jackson State University – 1,147

Alcorn State University- 566

University of Mississippi – 388

Mississippi Valley State University – 336

South Carolina

South Carolina State University – 481

University of South Carolina – 296


Savannah State University – 838

Albany State University – 448

University of Georgia – 395

Fort Valley State University – 392


Southern University – 1,102

Louisiana State University – 752

Grambling State University – 576


Delaware State University – 678

University of Delaware – 250

So with every negative HBCU narrative about graduation rates, academic rigor, racial separatism and HBCU relevance; with every parent who insists that a child attend a PWI, or every black student compelled to spend money and talent at a white campus to make white students more comfortable with black excellence; remember the numbers which reveal which institutions value which kind of students.

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