Inside The Record HBCU Enrollment Growth After The George Floyd Murder: 5 Things To Know

Inside The Record HBCU Enrollment Growth After The George Floyd Murder: 5 Things To Know

HBCU enrollment

Photo: Morehouse College, https://inside.morehouse.edu/news/news-inside/morehouse-college-leads-again-as-1-producer-of-black-male-undergraduates-who-earn-doctoral-degrees--1.html

Historically Black colleges and universities saw a major jump in enrollments following the police killing of George Floyd in May 2020. Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man, was killed by police in Minneapolis. His death sparked global social justice protests and a renewed interest in supporting Black-owned businesses and institutions, such as HBCUs. Inside the record HBCU enrollment growth after the George Floyd murder; here are five things to know.

1. HBCU enrollment boost

Prior to 2020, enrollment at HBCUs has seen a significant drop. The percentage of Black students enrolled at HBCUs fell from 18 percent in 1976 to 8 percent in 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. But the so-called racial reckoning following Floyd’s murder prompted a 9 percent HBCU enrollment boost in 2020. Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, for example, saw an increase of over 60 percent in 2020 from the previous year, Data USA reports.

2. The Black Lives Matter enrollment bump

Many credit the attention around the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in the wake of Floyd’s killing, to have had a direct effect on HBCU enrollments. “We saw the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, and then we saw students say, ‘Hey, I want to go to a Black school. I want to be safe. I want to enjoy my time,” Paulina Webber, a senior at Dillard University, told NPR.

3. Celeb HBCU investment increased

HBCUs benefited financially from partnerships with and investments by major companies and wealthy individuals, such as Black celebrities. Tennis great Serena Williams and actor Michael B. Jordan, for example, partnered in 2021 on a contest to award $1 million to an HBCU student with a great business plan. In 2020, actor Kevin Hart offered $600,000 in scholarships to 18 qualifying HBCU students. Filmmaker Will Packer gifted $500,000 in 2021 to his alma mater, Florida A&M University.

4. Corporate America showed interest

Corporate America made pledges to foster racial justice and financial justice following the Floyd murder and this involved investments in and partnerships with HBCUs.

IBM, for example, said it would establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers at six HBCUs: North Carolina A&T State University, Southern University System, Clark Atlanta University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Morgan State University, and South Carolina State University, NewsOne reported. Apple funded its $130 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, which includes hubs for computer coding and creativity at 45 HBCUs, USA Today reported.

5. MacKenzie Scott’s HBCU donations

Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated more than $550 million to nearly two dozen HBCUs in 2020.

She vowed to give billions away–and has. In July and December 2020, Scott announced $5.8 billion in gifts to colleges and various nonprofit and charitable organizations, The Washington Post reported. Of that, $800 million went to institutions of higher education, with Historically Black Colleges and Universities getting substantial amounts. The charitable donations to HBCUs by Scott, who still had a net worth of $27 billion as of December 2022, were doled out in two parts.

Photo: Photo: Morehouse College graduation, https://inside.morehouse.edu/news/news-inside/morehouse-college-leads-again-as-1-producer-of-black-male-undergraduates-who-earn-doctoral-degrees–1.html