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HBCUs Could Face Ruin by Coronavirus

Unlike colleges and universities that benefit regularly from large donations and can depend on expansive endowments to rely on in times of economic pitfall, many historically Black colleges and universities that bank on students’ tuition to offset expenses are limbo amid a public health crisis that could ultimately threaten their existence.

Marybeth Gasman, a professor at Rutgers University, told BlackAmericaWeb.com that some of the traditionally Black schools may already begin to see an economic impact from the global coronavirus pandemic.

While roughly 7 percent of students attending HBCUs are eligible for Pell Grants and come from low-income and middle-class homes, organizations such as the United Negro College Fund and Thurgood Marshall College Fund lobbied for the schools to receive $1.5 billion as part of a stimulus package to stem disruptions to their finances while students are away.

Lack of funding at this critical time could also cause HBCUs to lose their accreditation and close, some say.

Howard University professor Ivory Toldson said other HBCUs with “preexisting conditions,” such as financial hardship, are likely to shut down.

“HBCUs that are under-enrolled or financially impaired, with infrastructural issues, such as unfilled leadership positions, accreditation issues and subpar facilities, could have serious problems rebounding,” Toldson told BlackAmericaWeb.com.

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