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HBCUs Still Matter. Here’s How You Can Help Them

Upon graduating from high school, I always knew that I wanted to attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). And after looking at multiple colleges, it was Prairie View A&M University that stole my heart.

As a student, I was able to receive an incomparable education and experience, and I met amazing peers and educators that truly exemplified #BlackExcellence — not to mention, homecoming was always LIT.

I love educating others about HBCUs and teaching people about their rich history. I truly enjoy beingapart of the HBCU family so it troubles my heart to see some of our rich institutions losing funding and worse, accreditation.

When a school is accredited, it shows that it has met and is maintaining a certain level of standards set by an accrediting agency. Depending on the type of school, the accreditation standards vary. Attending a school that is accredited is extremely important for students. When job searching, employers will verify that your college degree is is accredited from a reliable agency. If your degree is from an institution that has a questionable accreditation standing, it is possible that the employer may question your degree’s validity. Not to mention, if you attend a school that is not accredited and want to transfer schools, no accredited college will take transfer credits from an unaccredited institution of higher learning.

Below you’ll find some red flags that a college is not accredited.

  • Federal financial aid is not available to students
  • Evidence of numerous student complaints about educational quality
  • Credits are awarded for very little work
  • The accrediting agency for the institution is not a recognizable agency by the Department of Education

As you can see, accreditation is very important when it comes to the value of one’s college career. Sadly, over the past few decades, a number of our precious HBCUs have lost accreditation, and slowly we are tragically losing our schools. Bishop College, Daniel Payne College, Leland University, and Morris Brown College are HBCUs that have all lost accreditation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) recently voted to remove Paine College’s accreditation. Paine College is currently appealing this decision, one that won’t be solidified until the next month or two.

In order to keep our rich HBCU legacy and history alive, we have to believe in the power of our HBCUs and what they have to offer.

HBCUs matter.

They have mattered since the first HBCU opened its doors in 1837, and they still matter 179 years later.

So what can we do to help our HBCUs? What are some ways that we can help our HBCUs prosper just as much as any other institution of higher learning? As Dr. Johnnetta Cole, former Spelman College president, said in a speech in 1988, “If we can tithe for our churches, we can tithe for our schools. This doesn’t mean we turn away from the federal government or from the private sector, but either we support these institutions or they will die.”

It’s time to pass the collection plate along to areas that matter most in our HBCUs and not just to the next rap artist for Homecoming.

At my former college PVAMU, we have a saying, “Prairie View Produces Productive People.” Since graduation, I vowed that I would live up to that saying and be the best alum and the best version of me. In order for our HBCUs to prosper, we must not only give back, but we must be productive people. We must always strive for excellence.