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What’s the impact of underfunding on the student experience at HBCUs?

I'm doing some research on HBCUs and keep coming across articles about underfunding issues. Could anyone shed some light on how this might affect my college experience if I were to attend an HBCU? I’m particularly interested in student resources, faculty availability, and opportunities for research and internships.

7 months ago

Underfunding at HBCUs can lead to a ripple effect on various aspects of the student experience. One area that may be impacted is the student resources you mention, such as the availability and quality of on-campus facilities, including labs and libraries. Limited funding means these facilities may not be as up-to-date as those at better-funded institutions, as repairs and renovations are expensive. This is not to say you won't have access to the necessary resources, but you might have to be more proactive in seeking them out.

In terms of faculty, underfunding can result in higher student-to-faculty ratios, especially in popular departments, as the schools might not be able to afford to hire more professors. That might affect the amount of individual attention you can receive, but it's worth highlighting that the professors at HBCUs are often deeply committed to their students' education and go the extra mile to support them. So while there might be fewer faculty members available, their dedication can partially offset the disadvantages of limited numbers, and if you take initiative yourself to connect with them, that effort will assuredly be rewarded.

Regarding opportunities for research and internships, underfunding can mean fewer directly sponsored programs by the university itself. However, many HBCUs have strong alumni networks and partnerships with external organizations that can help facilitate these experiences. You might need to take more initiative on your own to seek out these opportunities, but they are there.

All that being said, despite financial constraints, HBCUs have a strong track record of developing well-rounded graduates who are highly competitive in the job market and grad programs. The commitment of HBCUs to serve their students often shines through in creating a strong, supportive community that can provide a unique and enriching college experience.

And finally, with more conversation the last few years around the discrimination Black Americans have historically faced, there is starting to be a shift in this dynamic—MacKenzie Scott, for example, recently donated 1.7 billion dollars to 6 HBCUs. So, there is hope that things won't always be like this!

7 months ago

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