HBCU’s see rise in enrollment amid social justice movement

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are seeing record enrollment numbers this year, bucking the national trend of shrinking freshman classes.

Here in the DC area, Bowie State University saw an 8% jump and Howard University’s 2021 freshman class may be its largest yet.

Among the reasons for the rising HBCU enrollment are notable alumni like Vice President Kamala Harris and the late Chadwick Boseman. Authors and journalists Ta-Nehisi Coates and Nikole Hannah-Jones have also joined Howard University in recent months, with plans to bring new perspectives to the school’s journalism program.

“We’re attracting students who have a significant interest in social justice and an interest in addressing what they see as the ills of society,” said Howard University Provost Anthony Wutoh.

Donations have also been on the rise, with many HBCU’s receiving billions of dollars. Bowie State University recently received $25 million from philanthropist Mackenzie Scott.

“Across the country, those who never heard about HBCU’s and didn’t understand the value that we bring to our communities are now learning about HBCU’s,” said Bowie State University President, Aminta Breaux. That upward trend is continuing at HBCU’s nationwide.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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