Well, DUH!

[ What happens when you don’t have enough college-eligible African-American students to make HBCUs viable? ]

Why do I think HBCUs in the UNC-System will have an even harder time, increasing retention and graduation rates over the next several years? “It’s the Economy, stupid,” to reapply Bill Clinton’s election catch-phrase.

HBCUs currently accept a disproportionately large percentage of “low achieving” students compared to the non-HBCU institutions in the UNC-System. By “low achieving,” I am focusing upon the percentage of incoming Freshmen that were ranked in the “Bottom Half of their High School Class.” *I am using the figures from the “Freshman Class Profiles, Fall 2006,” which were included in the “Institutional Profiles University of North Carolina 2007-2008 Edition” (p.54, Appendix E).

INSTITUTION

# FRESHMEN

HS CLASS RANK
FROM BOTTOM HALF

% FROM
BOTTOM HALF

% SAT
BELOW 900

UNC-CH

2970

30

1%

1%

NCSU

3934

74

2%

1%

UNC-A

464

13

3%

2%

UNC-W

1427

113

8%

2%

UNC-C

2725

265

10%

4%

ASU

2446

318

13%

2%

UNC-G

2179

300

14%

13%

ECU

3508

828

24%

12%

WCU

1366

492

36%

16%

UNC-P

870

319

37%

43%

WSSU

838

317

38%

57%

ECSU

464

205

44%

71%

NCA&T

1773

792

45%

59%

FSU

751

341

45%

68%

NCCU

778

366

47%

68%

INSTITUTION

2010 TOTAL ENROLLMENT

BLACK

% BLACK

UNC-A

3967

123

3%

ASU

17222

549

3%

UNC-W

13071

572

4%

WCU

9407

575

6%

NCSU

34376

2758

8%

UNC-CH

29390

2504

9%

ECU

27783

3890

14%

UNC-C

25063

3957

16%

UNC-G

18771

3938

21%

UNC-P

6944

2135

31%

FSU

5781

4044

70%

WSSU

6333

4701

74%

NCCU

8645

6787

79%

ECSU

3307

2621

79%

NCA&T

10795

9187

85%

I don’t have the figures in front of me now, or I would post them, but the “graduation rates” at the non-white institutions is noticeably lower. I’ve seen one set of figures showing from a 25% to about 12% grad. rate, at the non-white schools, for 4 years. But, what would make you think that they should be equivalent to the white colleges? Could the white institutions graduate a greater percentage of “low achievers”? I’m guessing the answer would be, “No.” But, I’m almost sure that none of the white institutions want to have the opportunity to prove they could do a better job.

I think you would also have to start asking questions about, “should low achieving students even go to college,” and “what happens when you don’t have enough college-eligible African-American students to make the HBCUs viable”.

What about loan defaults and student debt?

So, the System HBCUs are accepting a large number of “low achieving” students.  This may or may not be the cause of a greater number of these students either leaving the institution before graduation, or graduating at a much slower, and lower rate that the White institutions.  And, it’s a “Catch-22”.  More black students are failing, but it’s because you’re letting more “underachieving” students, who happen to be black, attempt college.

If you limited the number of “low achieving” students that were allowed to attend the HBCUs, then some of those institutions couldn’t afford to continue to do business.

If you take the difference in Graduation Rate Percentage between the black and white institutions, then would that be an indicator of the percentage of “low achieving” students that HBCUs shouldn’t be allowing to attend?

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