Demographics at HBCUs Changing, More Whites Enrolling

While there is a growing imbalance of black men and women at historically black colleges and universities, the demographics are also shifting from predominately black to a more diverse student body. Studies have shown that in the past 25 years, the number of white students on black college campuses has increased from 21,000 to roughly 35,000.

Due to court orders, there is a growing presence of white students on the campuses of historically black colleges and universities. According to racetraitor.org, "13 HBCUs nationwide are now at least 20 percent white and five public HBCUs in the North Carolina system have been pressured to increase their white enrollment (currently 16.5 percent)."

Historically, HBCU’s were created for African Americans who were prohibited from attending most colleges. There were limited course offerings in order to stop black advancement and competition with white schools. The purpose of attending an HBCU has dramatically changed.

Today, students have decided to attend HBCUs because of their reputations and promises to prepare students for success upon graduation. According to hbcunetwork.com, "approximately 45 percent of HBCU graduates hold corporate positions of vice president or higher. Fourteen percent of all black pharmacists are graduates of HBCUs and 43 percent of all blacks who go on to earn doctorate’s degrees graduated from an HBCU."

Many white students across the South have enrolled at HBCUs. While this trend is becoming more prevalent, black students express concern that white students pose as a threat to its unique mission and heritage. "The reason why I decided to attend an HBCU is because I wanted to be around my people and my culture," said Monica Lake, a junior advertising major at Howard University. "If I wanted to attend school with white students, I could have gone to one of my state schools."

Lake acknowledges that once she graduates from Howard she will have to deal with a diverse group of people everyday in American society. "I understand that this country does not just have black people in it, but while I am at Howard I would like to gain the true black experience with just black people."

Some students do not feel like a few white students make that much of an impact on increasing diversity at black colleges and universities. "There are too few of them to make it feel like the real world. A black student going to a major university where the black student is the minority is what the real world is like," said Ashton Turner, a former student of Morehouse College.

Turner thinks that HBCUs need to fix their problems internally before worrying about white students enrolling. "I left Morehouse after my sophomore year because they were always messing up my financial aid and I did not feel academically challenged. I now attend a white university and I feel like I am getting a better education."