For generations, it’s been widely accepted that the only place Black people could have a Black college experience was at one of our beloved HBCUs. Though, in recent years the term “HBCU Experience” has been frivolously thrown around to define HBCUs and PWI Black Student Unions alike. This blurring of the lines of the two can lead to a misrepresentation of what Black students truly receive when they attend an HBCU; or an overrepresentation of what a PWI Black Student Union (BSU) can truly offer students.
According to the Pew Research Center overall enrollment for HBCUs has grown over the last few decades to nearly 300,000 students at 100 HBCUs. Currently, the largest mainstream four-year HBCU (excluding two-year St. Phillip’s College in San Antonio) is North Carolina A&T State University. When examining the top HBCUs by enrollment, it is apparent that the majority of public HBCUs have large undergraduate and graduate populations powered by 8,000 or more students and making our campuses into economic anchors for black communities in their respective cities and states.
Philanthropy is typically classified as the giving money without any expectation of involvement by the giver. Investment in a university, on the other hand, usually involves a gift presented with the expectation of a return on that investment, which doesn’t always have to be financial.