Black graduates who attended historically black colleges and universities are better off in five well-being categories than black graduates at predominantly white colleges and Ivy League institutions, according to a new Gallup survey.
The results of the first-ever Survey of Career Success and Well-Being of College Graduates of Color were unveiled Tuesday during the National Urban League’s National Higher Education Summit at the Gallup Building in D.C.
“What does a great life look like for college grads. It consists of five categories purpose, social, financial, community and physical,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of education for Gallup. “All of these things contribute to well-being, which is a critical measure of the impact of workplace engagement.
“A majority of college grads are thriving in at least one element, but nearly one in five aren’t hitting any at all,” he said.
Busteed asserts that out of the 60,000 surveyed graduates from 2014-2015, the findings for HBCU alumni were dramatically different.
“For HBCU grads compared to other Black students their are huge differences. They were three times more likely to say they were emotionally supported and two times more likely to hit the mark on all categories,” Busteed said.
“They were also two times more likely to have a professor that made them excited to learn than their counterparts,” he said.
Henry Lewis, former president of Florida Memorial University and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, praised Gallup’s findings.
“Thank you for changing the conversation on the role of HBCUs. This is my first time in 40 years that there is definitive information that says what impact HBCUs has on our students,” Louis said. “These findings will give us the ammunition to expand on what we have done throughout history and what we are doing right now.”
Everyone wasn’t so pleased with the survey results, though. James Anderson, chancellor at Fayetteville State University, said real issues such as low completion rates and high loan default numbers are more important.
“Well-being doesn’t mean anything in the real world. Employers want to know if can you do the job,” Anderson said.
The numbers also weren’t quite as promising for Black women, Busteed pointed out.
“When it comes to Black women out of all racial and gender categories they are least likely to be engaged in their work,” he said. “Black female graduates also scored the lowest on all five well-being categories.”
But Busteed contended the experiences HBCU graduates have during their time in college “make a powerful impact on them long-term for their work engagement.”
“Even with black women struggling specifically, survey results show in comparison between black graduates at HBCUs versus the Ivy League, HBCU alumni beat Ivy League alumni in all four categories, but one,” he said. “On these five elements black college graduates from HBCUs look far better off than their Ivy League counterparts.”