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Are "Black" colleges more effective in vaulting African Americans into the Middle Class?

Really interesting story. What's missing is the statistical backup. How do these schools compare to traditional multi cultural universities in outcomes? Do minorities perform better in life going to a school with higher average SAT scores or does that have an unintended negative consequence? Ergo, blacks currently have average SAT score over 200 points lower at elite universities, but appear to have better performance outcomes when placed in schools where the SAT gap is smaller.

A Black Path to the Middle Class

New research on the upward mobility of HBCU graduates.

By The Editorial Board, WSJ

Nov. 26, 2021 6:14 pm ET

Hard data about the value of a particular degree can be hard to come by. That’s why a new study on Historically Black Colleges and Universities is encouraging. It finds that HBCUs are an under-appreciated vehicle for upward mobility for their overwhelmingly African-American students.

The report was released last week by the United Negro College Fund’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute. The U.S. has 101 accredited HBCUs representing a combined student population that is more than 75% black. The unique contribution of this study is to examine students from the bottom two quintiles of household income ($46,000 or less)—and then find out how many later make it into the third quintile or above. Here’s what the authors say:

“On average and across institution type, when it comes to mobility rates HBCUs outperform all other categories and are double the national rate, being the primary post-secondary driver for moving Black Americans from poverty to the middle class.”

What makes this achievement so striking is that HBCUs draw more of their students from the bottom two income quintiles than other colleges do. One way to describe the HBCU difference is this: An HBCU graduate working full-time throughout his career will earn $927,000 more when compared to non-college goers and black students at non-HBCUs.


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The contributions of HBCUs to American life are all around us. HBCU alums include the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Vice President Kamala Harris. While HBCUs educate only 10% of all African-American colleges students, HBCU grads account for 80% of black judges, 50% of black doctors and 50% of black lawyers.

HBCUs developed in an era when discrimination, often government sanctioned, prevented many blacks from attending college. But the schools continue to prosper because they deliver a quality education that prepares students of any race to succeed in life. As a ticket to the middle class, they also help keep the American Dream alive.

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