A number of HBCUs are reporting record increases for first-year students and headcount for fall 2017. North Carolina A&T State University, the nation's largest HBCU, recently reported a fall enrollment total of 11,877 students – the largest student body in the institution's history, according to HBCU Digest.
Other HBCU's are following suit including Alcorn State University, Central State University, Kentucky State University, Virginia State University and Elizabeth City State University, which previously had a five-year negative enrollment trend.
Kentucky State University recently reported a first-year student increase of more than 160 percent from its confirmed student post of 194 students at the beginning of the summer.
“Kentucky State University continues to provide access to a quality education and is an affordable choice,” KSU President M. Christopher Brown II said to HBCU Digest, all while understanding that students still encounter financial challenges when it comes to investing in their futures.
VSU reported a 50 percent increase, CSU reported a 13 percent spike and ASU announced a 38 percent increase for 2017 freshman enrollment.
In 2016, HBCUs also reported a huge increase in enrollment, and everyone had a different theory about why enrollment was going up at these higher education institutions. In an interview with NPR last year, Dillard University President Walter M. Kimbrough explained that he thinks a part of the shift in enrollment is due to increased racial tensions on college campuses.
"Missouri became the tipping point for African-American students on predominately white campuses that they were just not going to take it anymore. And, really, last year wasn't the beginning. If you go back even a year before that, you had black students at University of Michigan with the hashtag #beingblackatmichigan, and they sort of aired everything that was going on there," Kimbrough said to NPR's Michel Martin. "Black students at Harvard had the campaign I, Too, Am Harvard where they held up placards with some of the phrases that have been said to them by white students, like I'm surprised you're here, can you read, it must be easy to get into Harvard if you're black, those kinds of things."