Choosing an HBCU is Detrimental to Graduate’s Earning Potential?


Is it true that you chose to go to a traditionally white institution (TWI) because you were worried about how your academic background would be received by employers?  No one has ever talked about it out loud, but some have said–behind closed doors– that their parents said they would be scrutinized or not hired by prospective employers for not having a degree from a TWI.  But now it appears that those type of fears have been explored in a study and there is scientific data to support those fears.

The New York Times reported that the study written in 2007 by Roland Fryer and Michael Greenstone, found that during the 1970’s up until the 1990’s, HBCU’s  heightened the pay of their graduates, afterwards they found that graduates would take a wage cut.  But, one possible reason for the difference over the years was that the TWI’s started to teach black students more effectively.  But also there’s a question of effective integration 20 years after the civil rights movement.

The other result Fryer and Greenstone found was that, “H.B.C.U. attendees became relatively more likely to be engaged in social, political, and philanthropic activities.”  The authors were able to prove that their wages took  a hit whether they took jobs in the non-profit and public sectors or not after testing within a control group for “people’s occupation.”

The bottom line is that over time the black community found less and less of a reason to attend HBCU’s.  As we were accepted more and provided a better experience in the classroom of TWI’s, we apparently, didn’t find any difference between the schools.  But one significant contributing factor is that students believe if they attend a white school the white employers will respect and be familiar with that school.

All of this information is disturbing because it is possible for all HBCU’s to hold the prestige and respect of HBCU’s like Howard University, Morehouse, and Spelman, if parents made HBCU’s their first choice schools for their first rate students.  The athletes that we produce could singlehandedly save an entire university based on the revenue that the athletic department brings to schools.  Our brightest and best attend the TWI’s and they reap the benefits while they are students and afterwards. 

Try an HBCU for your child, parents!  From my own experience of going to both a TWI and an HBCU, a quality education, prestigious faculty and money exists for your student at an HBCU.  But the added benefit is the genuine concern and care for your child.  Go Bears!

Read more here on this study.

-J.C. Brooks

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