Why Students Transfer Out of HBCUs

Some of the prevalent themes in the video:

  • A lack of student activities
  • Concerns about campus crime
  • Enrollment
  • Faculty turnover
  • Public perception

The school wasn’t named, but these are similar concerns from students nationwide at historically Black colleges. Sure, a freshman student has much to learn about college culture and structure, and the politics which make culture and structure seem different at HBCUs when compared to other institutions.

But students don’t make decisions to attend or to transfer based upon what they have yet to learn. Their decisions are made according to how they feel. Does the school make them feel good? Are they made to feel that the education is comparable to other institutions? Is school spirit matched across the service, learning and cultural elements of the college or university?

We don’t know if Dominique Ashley made good on her thoughts about transferring, but she speaks for many students who have high hopes for an HBCU experience, and those whom will have no problem leaving the institution, and thoughts about supporting it, far behind.

  • Michael

    Re: JL Carter and HBCU Digest Staff;

    This article represents a continued perpetuation of negative stereotypes about HBCUs by any substantive measure. The author (e.g., JL Carter) should be dutifully ashamed of himself for publishing this sensationalistic and fallacious article. What’s even more problematic and alarming is that a person with this neoliberal ideological framework works in the capacity as an HBCU spokesman (e.g., Morgan State University situated in Baltimore, MD). My point is, what type of professional services (e.g., the record speaks for itself) this university has received by JL Carter who represents the embodiment of Black self-hatred, working against the vested interests of HBCUs all the while on the payroll of an HBCU.

    Regarding the Black female undergraduate student (e.g., in the video), it was very disheartening to listen to her stunted intellectual development (e.g., speech patterns, etc.). This student has no understanding of the purpose for attending college (at this point). This student is an example of the dysfunctional public/private school system, the lack of appreciation and value of education, and socialization (as created by somebody else). My suggestion and recommendation to this student is to: 1) immediately modify your mindset and outlook about college (particularly HBCUs), 2) expend significant amount of time strengthening your academic weaknesses (as seen in the video), 3) immediately secure a Black female professor to mentor and assist you in how to successfully navigate college, and 4) stop wasting your precious time looking for the next “party”, “flirting with grown men”, or “consuming products that you’re not legally old enough for”.

    Those who are familiar with and affiliated with HBCUs will agree that the majority of salient issues at HBCUs centers on funding. Case in point, every issue JL Carter
    highlights from this stereotypical video in some capacity centers around funding. Point one: faculty turnover is due to salary inequities (e.g., between an estimated $10-20K as compared to most HWCUs [Historically White Colleges and Universities] and definitely course teaching load (e.g., 3-4 per semester).
    Point two: the incidence of crime (e.g., on and near campus) at most HBCUs is
    not higher as compared to what occurs at most peer HWCUs. In fact, any crime that occurs at any HBCU is entirely too much and could always be decreased. Point
    three: The “public perception” as created by the White mainstream media of
    HBCUs is beyond the immediate control of HBCU administrator.

    Further, we need to be mindful that the manner in which the larger White society (and others) view HBCUs is indicative how they view the collective Black community regardless of your occupation, title, residence (e.g., living in a certain part of town, suburbs, or a particular county or Parrish, etc.), or if you hold degrees from an HBCU, HWCU, HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) or a TCU (Tribal College University). In the final analysis, when so-called educated Blacks have the chutzpah and audacity to continue to act in interest of our collective enemy, they should be exposed of their crimes against the community. Now “we” see why our beloved HBCUs have only made incremental progress because the “enemy” is situated right amongst us.

    Consciente de que la población negra (Power to the conscious Black people, in espanol)!

    Michael

  • Sarah Davidson

    As with many freshmen entering college, they do not have
    good social skills and feel uncomfortable in the new environment… I cried my
    first year, missed my family, and wanted to go home… By sophomore year, you
    could not drag me away with 100 elephants. I would not trade my HBCU experience
    for all the money in the world… Loved it!!!
    When I read these types of articles, I try to look for what students are
    not saying… But, each person must make decisions based on a number of
    factors… What is right for one student might not be right for another. When I look at my HBCU alumni network and my professional
    contributions to the world, I know I made the right decision to attend an HBCU…
    getting past the first year is the hardest for many students…

  • Michael

    Re: JL Carter and HBCU Digest Staff;

    This article represents a continued perpetuation of negative stereotypes about HBCUs by any substantive measure. The author (e.g., JL Carter) should be dutifully ashamed of himself for publishing this sensationalistic and fallacious article. What’s
    even more problematic and alarming is that a person with this neoliberal ideological framework works in the capacity as an HBCU spokesman (e.g., Morgan State University situated in Baltimore, MD). My point is, what type of professional services (e.g., the record speaks for itself) this university has received by JL Carter who represents the embodiment of Black self-hatred, working against the vested interests of HBCUs all the while on the payroll of an HBCU.

    Regarding the Black female undergraduate student (e.g., in the video), it was very disheartening to listen to her stunted intellectual development (e.g., speech patterns, etc.). This student has no understanding of the purpose for attending college (at this point). This student is an example of the dysfunctional public/private school system, the lack of appreciation and value of education, and socialization (as created by somebody else). My suggestion and recommendation to this student is to: 1) immediately modify your mindset and outlook about college (particularly HBCUs), 2) expend significant amount of time strengthening your academic weaknesses (as seen in the video), 3) immediately secure a Black female professor to mentor to assist you in how to successfully navigate college, and 4) stop wasting your precious time looking for the next “party”, “flirting with grown men”, or “consuming products that you’re not legally old enough for”.

    Those who are familiar with and affiliated with HBCUs will agree that the majority of salient issues at HBCUs centers on funding. Case in point, every issue JL Carter
    highlights from this stereotypical video in some capacity centers around funding. Point one: faculty turnover is due to salary inequities (e.g., between an estimated $10-20K as compared to most HWCUs [Historically White Colleges and Universities] and definitely course teaching load (e.g., 3-4 per semester).
    Point two: the incidence of crime (e.g., on and near campus) at most HBCUs is
    not higher as compared to what occurs at most peer HWCUs. In fact, any crime that occurs at any HBCU is entirely too much and could always be decreased. Point
    three: The “public perception” as created by the White mainstream media of
    HBCUs is beyond the immediate control of HBCU administrator.

    Further, we need to be mindful that the manner in which the larger White society (and others) view HBCUs is indicative how they view the collective Black community regardless of your occupation, title, residence (e.g., living in a certain part of town, suburbs, or a particular county or Parrish, etc.), or if you hold degrees from an HBCU, HWCU, HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) or a TCU (Tribal College University). In the final analysis, when so-called educated Blacks have the chutzpah and audacity to continue to act in interest of our collective enemy, they should be exposed of their crimes against the community. Now “we” see why our beloved HBCUs have only made incremental progress because the “enemy” is situated right amongst us.

    Consciente de que la población negra (Power to the conscious Black people, in espanol)!

    Michael

  • jfj

    To JCS — I think my point wasn’t to question whether it had been posted as hard news, but why, if intended to generate conversation, it wasn’t localized to the one institution instead of using this narrow piece to work outward to suggest it was relevant to other or even all HBCU’s. And, you made a choice to distribute this versus all of the other commentaries that exist out there. So your choice is indicative of something much more — and you should not congratulate yourself too much. The amount of attention is because some of us are sick and tired of these cheap shots at HBCU’s that are pervasive in the press these days, particularly at a moment when conservative voices in places like NC use these same anecdotal statements to make larger, mostly unsubstantiated points.

  • Dominique Ashley

    Hey, This is Dominique Ashley, the maker of this video. Thanks for your comments! My priorities are in ORDER. Ending this semester I have a 3.0 GPA, I am involved in SIX different organizations, and will have a job the upcoming semester! I try to make school AND still trying to make school not only for me but my Freshman class. If you were to talk to others, they all would say the same thing as I did in the video. Most have already transfer ending the semester but i’m deciding to stay at the school to help upcoming freshman, LIKE ME, not go through what I went through at this school. OH, and I have also changed my major due to it not being interesting anymore. I am not a Social Work major because I LOVE helping people. Have a blessed day …

    – OH and If I were to magically received a scholarship to any other school out of state, Of course I would take it.

  • jfj

    why is this even posted?? This is ridiculous and certainly not worthy of this amount of attention. Seriously, this is on the level of a high school gossip page. I am seriously disappointed that HBCU digest decided to place this out there. It’s difficult enough trying to get serious reporting on HBCU’s without this kind of thing. The editor or the staffer responsible for this needs to be re-directed

    • hbcudigest

      You will notice that my name is next to this piece, and that it is listed under ‘Commentary.’ This post was not intended to be read as hard news, or that Ms. Ashley’s comments were indicative of all students at all HBCUs. In fact, my comments were that ‘many’ students at HBCUs share these sentiments, and for, in their minds, valid reasons.

      The amount of attention, I would imagine, is that the sister made some good points which are worth discussing. Thanks for reading and supporting.

      – JCS

  • Brandon Law

    I encourage every high school student to visit the college they plan to attend to see if they will enjoy the culture there. Take a tour, speak to students, attend a summer program. That will give you a great idea of the school and if you will enjoy it. Visit a second campus so you have something to compare it to. HBCU Digest shouldn’t post this as an issue all colleges face because not all HBCUs are small. Im sure you’d be hard pressed to find a freshman from my alma mater, FAMU, or other large HBCUs such as North Carolina A&T, Southern, Jackson State, etc… claim their school was boring.

    • Dominique Ashley

      This is Dominique Ashley, I agree so much with you and I wish I would’ve got the chance to attend something during the summer or another school program also. I plan on transferring to another HBCU but not anytime soon(: Thanks for your comment.

  • Sandra Kay Weaver

    My disappointment here is less about a college freshman barely two months into her first semester isn’t sure that she made the right decision or the fact that the focus seems to be more about the lack of good parties; my disappointment lies in the fact that this video warranted a headline and was given any credibility for why students transfer out of HBCUs!

    The lack of specifics and data is obvious and the rationale given in this video could come from any small college HBCU or otherwise. This is a disservice!

  • ConfusedAsUsual

    I hope this young lady understands that she needs to know that disliking the campus culture of a college doesn’t just happen at HBCUs. Did she not know how low the freshman enrollment was before she enrolled? If not, that’s a failure to plan on her part. HBCUs get a bad rap because of unrealistic expectations. She came for the education department, she loves the teachers (which she says are wonderful) but she still wants to leave? Maybe her priorities aren’t where they need to be. This isn’t an HBCU issue, this is a student in college who doesn’t really understand why she is supposed to be there. Why doesn’t she explore her city? Unless she is in the middle of nowhere, she can’t expect a school of her size to really be able to fulfill everything she needs socially. I wish her the best of luck but obviously what she wanted in a college experience isn’t what she’s getting, but that isn’t the school’s fault, it’s her’s.

    • Dominique Ashley

      Hey, This is Dominique Ashley, the maker of this video. Thanks for your comment! My priorities are in ORDER. Ending this semester I have a 3.0 GPA, I am involved in SIX different organizations, and will have a job the upcoming semester! I try to make school AND still trying to make school not only for me but my Freshman class. If you were to talk to others, they all would say the same thing as I did in the video. Most have already transfer ending the semester but i’m deciding to stay at the school to help upcoming freshman, LIKE ME, not go through what I went through at this school. OH, and I have also changed my major due to it not being interesting anymore. I am not a Social Work major because I LOVE helping people. Have a blessed day … “ConfusedAsUsaul” (:

      • Michael

        Re; Dominique,

        How can honestly say that your “priorities are in order” when the video perpetuated negative stereotype about young Black women and HBCUs. In my opinion, you need to redirect your energy in seriously cultivating your intellectual capacity. You stated
        that your cumulative GPA is 3.0 after the first semester for which I find amazing particularly since you failed to write any coherent sentences. Instead of being involved in so many “organizations”,
        I really think you need to focus on your academics for obvious reasons.

        My suggestion and recommendation to you is to: 1) immediately modify your mindset and outlook about college (particularly
        HBCUs), 2) expend significant amount of time strengthening your academic weaknesses (as seen in the video), 3) immediately secure a Black female professor to mentor and assist you in how to successfully navigate college, and 4) stop wasting your precious time looking for the next “party”, “flirting with grown men”, or “consuming products that you’re not legally old enough for”.

        Sólo studio (Just study, in espanol)!
        Michael

        Michael

        • Dominique Ashley

          dear Michael,
          you don’t know me personal so don’t speak on my life. also know that I’m typing from a phone and it takes too long for me to to type on here so I shorten it up anyway possible. if you knew me you would know I’m a SAVED Christian. I’m not looking for a grown men to flirt with or do illegal things because I DON’T. I go to parties and have fun like all other college students. thus video was for my YouTube followers explaining how I felt about my first semester of college. but thanks for your input though. I actually have three older females I look up to and they have me on the right path. oh, and I don’t waste anytime. I’m busy Monday-Friday 9amtill7pm… classes, tutoring, meetings, things of that nature. Thanks for your comment though. you have a blessed night(:

          • Brad Ray

            Hang in there Ashley, I think the change in major will brightened things up for you a bit. As you start your next semester you just may find things a little bit more to your liking.

            But, if you don’t no worries because you have every right to make good, bad, well informed or even poorly informed decisions. It’s all in the experience of being a young adult and sometimes us older folks have to keep that in mind.

            I have a daughter that is a sophomore at FAMU and is loving every minute of it. But, she has had friends who transferred out after there first year. It’s all about finding your own course.

            All I can say is try and hang in there and continue giving the school a chance.

            As far as some of the commentary against you just keep in mind sometimes us old heads forget what it was like to be a young adult.

          • Michael

            Re: Brad Ray;
            You need to keep in mind that one does not to be “old head” in order to give an intellectually honest response. In fact, it’s called making mature decisions while in college. Case in point, how do you explain the “hundreds of thousands” other freshman who manage to make sound decisions. It’s called fully understanding the importance of being in college, valuing education, and not being concerned about the “latest named brand clothing”, “off-campus party”, etc.
            The Black community need to stop making excuses for when “we” make untimely and unsound decisions and be held accountable. In other words, “we” need to stop enabling incompetence(e.g., regardless level of education[K-Ph.D.], position held, etc.), rewarding bad behavior, and stop giving “politically correct” advice because that doesn’t solve the problem.

          • Brad Ray

            I understand what you are saying but, constructive criticism can be more helpful than attacks. Especially when dealing with a young person maybe looking for advice and insight.

          • Michael

            Re: Dominique,

            It’s quite apparent that you grossly misinterpreted my comments. I would highly suggest that you revisit your video and be intellectually honest with yourself in the manner in which you articulated your thoughts. You stated that “you don’t know me personal so don’t speak on my life”, which is a clear indication that you need to strengthen your writing skills(in my humble opinion). More specifically, your entire written response is a complete contradiction in what you verbalized in this disjointed and stereotypical video.
            Point one: in “your video” your dialogue centered around “going out partying”. Point two: in “your video” you quite happily stated how you verbally manipulated the “campus police” to allow you to enter because you didn’t have your student ID card. In close, I would suggest that you expend more time strengthening your writing skills and quite speaking with a forked tongue.

      • Dominique Ashley

        I am now* a social work major.