College Week: Are Historically Black Colleges Still a Good Bet?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It’s college acceptance letter season, and all this week, we’re talking about college-related issues. Up until the 1960s, historically black colleges were the primary higher learning institutions available to African-Americans. Some of the most famous black people in the U.S., from Oprah Winfrey to Spike Lee, have attended them and went on to achieve great success. But in our seemingly less-segregated times, are these colleges really a good educational option?

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Professor at Syracuse University. He explains new studies that indicate graduates of historically black colleges may not achieve the same success as their counterparts, who attend traditionally white schools. Anthony Newby is a 1998 graduate of Howard University. He’s also the founder of a language translation company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Guests:

Anthony Newby and Boyce Watkins

Produced by:

Kristen Meinzer

Comments [7]

Cornelia Horne from Atlanta, Georgia

There are several HBCUs in and around Atlanta where I live. I can appreciate the intellect I've experienced in form of authors, politicians etc. that have resulted from this education. I do detect a great sense of pride and emphasis on the word 'better' during the topic discussion. Perhaps the strong sense of cultural identity is to blame for that. All in all having different college experience is part of ones personal preference. School after all isn't just an intellectual quest but a shaping of character.

Mar. 30 2011 03:56 PM
Alice from New York City

I went to Fordham University, a Catholic institution. I didn't really appreciate the education I was getting until I began to apply to grad school. Grad schools were ready to roll out the red carpet for me on the basis of the Fordham reputation. I've run into people who have stereotyped me as "conservative" because I went to Fordham; this is laughable -- the place is as liberal as it is possible to be.

Mar. 30 2011 01:42 PM
Lori from Detroit

I went to an all-women's, historically Black college. It was the best decision I ever made! My undergraduate experience at Spelman was academically more challenging than earning a master's degree at New York University. Women I graduated with have earned advanced degrees at Harvard, Princeton and other top universities in the United States and abroad. HBCUs are still necessary because, according to UNCF, "While the 105 HBCUs represent just 3% of the nation’s institutions of higher learning, they graduate nearly one-quarter of African Americans who earn undergraduate degrees."
(www.uncf.org/aboutus/hbcus.asp). Lastly, I must say I was shocked and dismayed to hear women's colleges referred to as "girls' schools." Wow. I hope the appropriate term will be used on air in the future.

Mar. 30 2011 12:40 PM
Lori from Detroit

I went to an all-women's, historically Black college. It was the best decision I ever made! My undergraduate experience at Spelman was academically more challenging than earning a master's degree at New York University. Women I graduated with have earned advanced degrees at Harvard, Princeton and other top universities in the United States and abroad. HBCUs are still necessary because, according to UNCF, "While the 105 HBCUs represent just 3% of the nation’s institutions of higher learning, they graduate nearly one-quarter of African Americans who earn undergraduate degrees."
(www.uncf.org/aboutus/hbcus.asp). Lastly, I must say I was shocked and dismayed to hear women's colleges referred to as "girls' schools." Wow. I hope the appropriate term will be used on air in the future.

Mar. 30 2011 12:40 PM
Lien Riley

For goodness sake, will you please stop referring to women's colleges as "all girls schools"?

A couple facts about graduates of women's: colleges - they:
- Are more successful in careers; that is, they tend to hold higher positions, are happier, and earn more money.
- Constitute more than 20% of women in Congress, and 30% of a Business Week list of rising women stars in Corporate America, yet only represent 2% of all female college graduates.
- Report greater satisfaction than their coed counterparts with their college experience in almost all measures - academically, developmentally, and personally.
- Continue toward doctorates in math, science and engineering in disproportionately large numbers.
- Develop measurably higher levels of self-esteem than other achieving women in coeducational institutions.
- Score higher on standardized achievement tests.
- Tend to major in traditionally male disciplines, like the sciences, in greater numbers.
- Pursue advanced degrees at a much higher rate than women who attend co-educational institutions. In fact, women's college graduates are more than twice as likely to earn doctoral degrees and complete professional degrees such as law or medicine.

Mar. 30 2011 10:06 AM
Lorenzo from Lubbock, TX

My degree is from Texas Tech University. I find that when people see the word "Texas" on my diploma, they immediately equate that with "awesome." This has helped me in my career all over the U.S.

When people hear "Howard" they think, "black college." When people hear "BYU" they think, "Mormon." But when people hear Texas in the name of a school, the word that immediately comes to mind is, "awesomeness."

...Unless you put A&M after it, then they cancel out.

Mar. 30 2011 09:57 AM
Jane Suda

Please tell Ms. Headlee that she should be referring to "All Women Colleges". College age females are generally 18 to 22 years old, sometimes older - they are women, not girls. I'm sure your guest from Howard University would have been very offened if you had referred to him as a boy. Please show your female listeners the same level of respect.

Mar. 30 2011 08:05 AM

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