Dick Startz, a professor of economics at the Univerity of California Santa Barbara, has published an informative article on the value of historically Black colleges and universities to the nation. The research is published on the website of the Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, that has the stated mission of conducting in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing society at the local, national and global level.
Dr. Startz notes that surveys have shown African American college graduates who earned their degrees at HBCUs are more likely than Black students who graduated from predominantly White educational institutions to be financially secure, happier, and to have built strong and supportive relationships. Graduates of HBCUs also reported that they were more likely to have had mentors and received support from faculty and administrators than those Black students who did not graduate from HBCUs.
The report shows that HBCUs spend about two-thirds per student as predominantly White colleges and universities. Dr. Startz calculates that at non-HBCU public schools, tuition revenue per student is about $6,700 — as compared to only $4,900 at HBCUs. Similarly, at private non-HBCU schools, the average is $17,000 as compared to $10,400 at private HBCUs.
The research also points out the endowments of most HBCUs are able to do little to offset the lower tuition revenue. There are 100 colleges and universities that have endowments of more than $1 billion. None are HBCUs. Howard University has the largest endowment among HBCUs, but Harvard University’s endowment is 50 times great than Howard’s endowment and more than all HBCUs combined.
Despite operating with lower revenues and smaller endowments, HBCUs produce about one out of eight bachelor’s degrees earned by Black students in the United States. In short, HBCUs, do more with less.