We can only hope that our illustrious institutions don't suffer too badly during the rest of this Trump administration. From the looks of things, they won't as more students are returning to Historically Black Colleges and Universities. HBCUs produce 90% of the nation’s black science and technology graduates, half of the nation’s black teachers, and approximately 20% of black graduates. Enrollment has steadily increased over the past 30 years as more and more students are choosing HBCUs.
According to a report by GOOD Magazine, Trump and the current racial climate may play a role in this switch.
“The racial unrest in this country probably has a huge impact on enrollment rates,” says Dr. Jacob Butler, chairperson of the division of social sciences at Morris College, a small HBCU located in South Carolina.
“We are living in a time where the current president seems to embolden racists to be more overt with their actions,” Butler argues. “Even before President Trump, we saw situations at other institutions where racial tension has erupted on campus. We’ve witnessed protest on campus and students pushing back against racial injustice.”
While there are obviously still many black scholars at predominantly white institutions (PWIs), does the intense racial climate move some students to avoid the overt racism that is ever present on these campuses? Are students looking to HBCUs as safe spaces?
“The atmosphere at HBCUs offer a space for students to grow and learn without necessarily having to factor that into their college experiences,” Butler says. “It’s a safe space in a time where safety concerns and racial tension cannot be denied.”
However, with the Trump administration looking to make a $3.9 Billion cut to Pell Grants, a staple that 70% of HBCU students use to pay for school, who knows what that means for these safe spaces.
In Trump's America, we must keep the legacy of these institutions alive and well more than ever.