Private Giving to HBCUs Increases, Enrollment Drops Decrease for Second Straight Year in 2016

Charitable giving and grantmaking to historically black colleges and universities increased for the third consecutive year in 2016, while enrollment declines which had annually exceeded more than 10,000 students for several years were just over 1,000 for the second straight year.

Data released by the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics shows that HBCUs received more than $320 million in private gifts and grants during the 2015-16 academic year, the highest amount of non-public funding coming to the sector since grossing $351.5 million in 2012.

The increase represents just .78% of the record $41 billion given to higher education in 2016, but represents a 20% increase in black college philanthropy over the last two years; a stark contrast to the 24% drop in HBCU giving between 2012 and 2014.

Private Gifts & Grants to HBCUs
2012 – $351.5 million
2013 – $304.7 million
2014 – $265.2 million
2015 – $316.8 million
2016 – $320.5 million

HBCU sector total enrollment declined for the fifth consecutive year since an all-time high of more than 326,000 students in 2010. Attrition numbers increased slightly from 2016, with HBCUs losing a total of 1,305 students in comparison to 928 students a year ago.

But the losses continue a trend of HBCUs moving towards enrollment sustainability, after withstanding annual enrollment declines of more than 9,000 between 2011 and 2014.

Total HBCU Enrollment
2012 – 312,438
2013 – 303,167
2014 – 294,316
2015 – 293,388
2016 – 292,083

Earlier this month, alumni at Texas Southern University and Howard University gave in excess of $1 million gifts in individual and collective donations to the institutions. Last fall, Southern University’s Human Jukebox inked a $1 million sponsorship deal with a local fast food chain, earning philanthropic support for band scholarships, equipment and the Jaguars’ athletic program.