The Sorry State of Alumni Giving at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

U.S. News & World Report recently published a list of historically Black colleges and universities that achieve the greatest rate of alumni giving. For the HBCUs that supplied data to the survey, the average giving rate was a dismally low 11.2 percent.

There were only four HBCUs that supplied data where the alumni giving rate exceeded 30 percent. Leading the list is Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. There, 47.7 percent of all alumni made a financial contribution to the university in the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years. Spelman College in Atlanta and Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina – both women’s colleges – ranked second and third with alumni giving rates exceeding 35 percent. The only other HBCU where the alumni giving rate was more than 30 percent was Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee.

Rounding out the top 10 in alumni giving rates among HBCUs are Fisk University in Nashville, Tougaloo College in Mississippi, Tuskegee University in Alabama, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, Xavier University in New Orleans, and Hampton University in Virginia. But among these six HBCUs, the highest giving rate was 22.8 percent.

The report also stated that at two HBCUs, the alumni giving rate was only 2 percent.

Related Articles


  1. One of the main issues with Alumni not giving is that as students we may not be fully indoctrinated with the need to support and be come part of our school’s Alumni organization. Many students receive scholarships and other forms of help from alumni but do not feel responsible to play it forward.

  2. As Alumni of HBCUS we must become “Responsible and Accountable for the financial health of our Institutions. This involves our giving as well as Networking with those whose businesses profit greatly from our Institutions. We must learn to use the economic impact studies of our Institutions as a barometer in communicating the value proposition to vendors who benefit greatly from our Universities. It just makes “Good Business Sense.” Let’s do it NOW.

    • Charlie Hsrdy you are correct in your observations. Some years back I approached officials at Alanama State about the way. “Specificayions ” are written by the Architects that “box out” all but the favorite. All I reqested from ASU was they have Architects imsert the words “or an equal product”in all spec and goods goimg into buildings. Collectively this represents millions of dollars HBCU’s fail to leverage. Yet it is the small people like myself who are the primary donors to HBCU’s.

  3. And that is a shame. Take mentality. We know that if we are hungry and the refrigerator is empty there will be nothing to eat if nothing is put in the refrigerator. This is basic. I don’t understand how lettered men and women don’t get this concept. It is sadly remarkable. Maybe we need to revisit the curriculum at our HBCUs. Perhaps there need to be a required course on Philanthropy.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs