Atlanta HBCUs Respond To Supreme Court’s Ruling: Why Black Colleges Will Now Need More Funding Than Ever

The Supreme Court’s decision to end race-based admissions continues to send ripples throughout the education community. It’s likely that Historically Black Colleges and Universities will see an influx of students in the upcoming years. 

However, HBCUs would need billions of dollars in funding to be equipped to satisfy larger enrollments. In 2023, there were roughly 228,000 students enrolled at 107 HBCUs across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Education. 

But more Black students are enrolled at predominately white institutions (PWIs). The U.S. Department of Education reports that 7% of Black students attend historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and 53% attend PWIs.

At this point, HBCUs don’t have the funding or capacity to take on major increases in the student populations. 

Morehouse College President David A. Thompson shared his thoughts in a statement. 

“For those wondering, ‘What do we do now?’ in the face of this decision, it is not about creating new programs or organizations but scaling and adequately resourcing those that have already proven to have a disproportionate impact on reducing racial inequality and increasing racial diversity in every sector of national life,” Dr. Thompson said. “The question we must answer is whether the philanthropists, foundations, and corporations that declared a commitment to address racial equity will invest at the required level to scale and resource HBCUs such as Morehouse at the levels they have for predominantly White selective colleges and universities. Morehouse and Yale have much in common, judging by the contributions and achievements of their graduates. Most differences between them can be attributed to the size of their endowments and unrestricted giving.”

When comparing the endowments given to HBCUs and PWIs, it reveals how far HBCUs are behind in terms of resources. According to the HBCU Money, the top 10 HBCU endowment total is $2.5 billion and the top 10 PWI endowment total is $318.8 billion. 

Spelman University’s President Helene Gayle shared her disappointment with the ruling by saying in a statement, “This ruling reverses generations of progress that opened the doors for Black and brown communities to have equal access to higher education at institutions of their choice. It also goes against the growing diversity of our nation and the importance of diversity for our democracy. ..The impact of the Court’s decision does not end with college campuses. There are far-reaching implications that will also affect diversity across all sectors of our society. I look forward to working with my colleagues across HBCUs and MSIs to continue our legacies of providing access to quality education to Black and brown students.” 

Gayle concluded by saying that Spelman is reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision to determine the impact on its institution. 

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