A recent report from the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University suggests that the type of college where Black students initially enroll could narrow racial disparities in degree completion and influence students’ long-term financial outcomes.
The report is based on an analysis of data from nearly 1.2 million Black students who took the SAT between 2004 and 2010. The study found that students initially enrolling in HBCUs are 14.6 percentage points more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than Black students who enroll at predominantly White institutions. Black students who enrolled at a non-HBCU four-year institution were 24 percentage points less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within six years than White students overall, according to the report.
Black students who graduated from an HBCU had 5 percent higher household income around age 30 than those who did not enroll in an HBCU. Initially enrolling in an HBCU also leads to $12,000 more in outstanding student loans around age 30.
“These historic institutions have played an important role in giving Black students access to higher education when other institutions were unavailable due to segregation,” the report concludes. “HBCUs have faced many challenges over the last century, such as inadequate funding, state and court legislators requiring justification of their existence, and questions about their quality. This research demonstrates that the historically outsized role played by HBCUs in granting access to Black students and supplying talented Black graduates to the American economy still holds for 21st-century graduates.”