Economic woes challenge historically black colleges

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ATLANTA --- Historically black colleges and universities, which for decades have been educating students who can't afford to go -- or can't imagine going -- elsewhere, have been particularly challenged by the nation's economic meltdown.

Enrollments at the schools have declined at the same time endowments have dropped and fundraising sources have dried up. The same is true at most universities, but often students at HBCUs need more aid to stay on course.

"What's most difficult for our institutions is that they are tuition-driven," said Michael Lomax, the president of the United Negro College Fund. "They don't have large endowments, and even the ones who do have seen a large reduction in the value of those endowments."

One recently released survey on 791 American public and private colleges reported that endowments fell 3 percent in the fiscal year ending June 30, and a smaller group estimated a 23 percent drop in the first five months of fiscal year 2009, which began in July. The numbers represent a decline nearly double that of any full-year return since such figures were first tracked in 1974.

Only three black colleges -- Howard University in Washington, D.C., Spelman College in Atlanta and Hampton University in Virginia -- had endowments among the top 300 included in the survey. Most lack the resources and strength in alumni giving.

Most students at the colleges combine grants and loans to fund their educations, Mr. Lomax said.

An Associated Press analysis showed that 62 percent of students at 83 four-year HBCUs receive Pell Grants. More than 90 percent of those recipients come from families earning less than $40,000 a year.

Mr. Lomas expects HBCUs to survive, but they might have to make some painful choices.

Spelman recently announced it is phasing out its department of education in favor of a shared teacher certification program based at Clark Atlanta University that will also include Morehouse College.

Other cost-cutting measures at Spelman include eliminating 35 positions and closing campus for the week after graduation in May. Clark Atlanta cut 100 workers and canceled its physical education classes last week after a drop in spring enrollment. At Morehouse, 25 adjunct professors, a third of the school's part-time instructors, were released.

At Morehouse, enrollment is down 8 percent from last year and the school's endowment is down to about $110 million from a high of $150 million.

A bright spot has emerged among the bad news at Morehouse: An increase in alumni donors, especially first-time givers.

Similarly, Spelman has seen 1,000 more donors, a 67 percent increase in alumnae giving and a 250 percent increase in giving from parents. However, in both cases, while the donors have increased, the gifts have been smaller, said spokeswoman Angela Johnson.

MORRIS BROWN IS DENIED EXTENSION
ATLANTA --- Atlanta water officials have denied extra time for Morris Brown College to pay its $214,000 water bill.
Atlanta Watershed Management spokeswoman Jennifer Carlile says the college sought a 30-day extension to pay, but the bill must be paid Tuesday or the water service will be shut off.
The historically black college had only $35,000 earmarked for the water bill Saturday. Interim President Stanley Pritchett says the college hopes to have a plan to present to the city today.
-- Associated Press

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Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 02/16/09 - 05:38 am
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$214,000 for a water bill???

$214,000 for a water bill??? And they only have $35,000 set aside to pay for it?? How in the heck did it get so high?? This is a college, right?? And they have educated people at this college? With all the cuts, did they cut the school of business and finance that teaches you to pay your bills on time, or at the very least to not let the bill get so far behind? Good grief! This is pretty sad. I feel for the students at this school who have to go without any water service.

justus4
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justus4 02/16/09 - 06:55 am
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Black athletes, especially
Unpublished

Black athletes, especially the good ones are recruited by colleges that get high-visibility and get national airtime. Those universities send 98% of players to the NBA & NFL, where both leagues are predominately African-American males. The question: Why don't these young men go to HBCUs? The answer is that the "establishment" have destroyed the athletic programs of these colleges and no recruiter visits from the professional leagues, so HBCU's get no visibility and ultimately less talented individuals and less dollars. This is a terrible situation that requires a new approach and some creative and proactive intervention at the high school level. There must be a focused approach to steer the talent pool into HBCUs, not only for athletics, but to continue the tradition of higher education & excellence in sports. Again, the article failed to address the real issues and possibly the leadership of the referenced colleges are making the same mistake.

christian134
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christian134 02/16/09 - 07:18 am
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What does it mean to have an

What does it mean to have an article addressing problems in an All Black Colleges? If there were an article written about problems in an All White College, oops there are not all White Collegs's, so the question is moot...But if there were it would be considered racist and monumental discrimination...

karmakills123
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karmakills123 02/16/09 - 08:25 am
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LOL...justass could it be

LOL...justass could it be that these College Depts. are run by people who cannot balance a budget and maybe are working there because they "know" someone or have a cousin who is in Administration... to say the "establishment" caused the demise of the athletic dept. is just you putting blame elsewhere than where it should be....God help you and those who have to live with you and your "it ain't my fault mentality"......sad little man

j2says
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j2says 02/16/09 - 08:54 am
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Historically black college

Historically black college are just that Historically black. Some of these colleges have white students that attend as well. So there is no discrimination, if students of any race want to attend these colleges or universities all they need to do is apply. In fact, Morehouse had a white valedictorian last year. Had there not been segregation in the first place there would have been no need for these institutions, people really need to get over themselves and this reverse discrimination.

christian134
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christian134 02/16/09 - 09:40 am
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When the status quo, j2says,

When the status quo, j2says, changes in the majority black groups demanding more and more All black schools, programs, phone books, television etc. then maybe the sound of reverse discrimination can be toned down somewhat...Oh lest I forget the big black hoopla...The one and only "Reparation"...Yea! Now that is calling all Americans together...Uhhmmm Not....

j2says
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j2says 02/16/09 - 10:08 am
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They are not demanding all

They are not demanding all black products. Demanding all black products would mean they want mainstream companies like Johnson & Johnson to supply products only targeted at black people.The companies and products you speak of are built and run by black people for black people's interests. They are not demanding anyone supply them with these products they are supplying themselves. Black colleges and other companies were built because they couldn't go to other institutions or the needs or interests of the community were being ignored. Just because there is integration doesn't mean these institutions need to close. And not all, black people want reparations.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/16/09 - 10:58 am
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What you say is true j2, but

What you say is true j2, but now that anyone can attend any college, maybe the time for some of these HBCUs has come and gone.

Obamessiah
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Obamessiah 02/16/09 - 02:25 pm
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Blacks need their own

Blacks need their own universities because other universities like Georgia Southern, UGA, GATech and all the other big-name schools in GA are racist!

j2says
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j2says 02/16/09 - 03:49 pm
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Some HBCU's may need to close

Some HBCU's may need to close but not because the idea of an HBCU has become antiquated in light of integration. They need to close because they are losing accreditation and don't have the money to stay open. However, this goes for any college that can't live up to their academic and financial responsibilities. When a college can not longer serve the community and its students effectively it needs to close.

justthefacts
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justthefacts 02/16/09 - 04:19 pm
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j2, I don't understand. You

j2, I don't understand. You said they were formed because of segregation. You are not making sense.

intheknow
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intheknow 02/16/09 - 04:21 pm
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christian maybe you should

christian maybe you should widen your eye holes. It's is not an " All Black College" otherwise it would be 100% Black and not 97%. My daughter went to Wesleyan, it was an all female college, not an all white college, even if the overwhelming majority were white.

intheknow
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intheknow 02/16/09 - 04:24 pm
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christian give that

christian give that Reparation junk you spew a rest. Only in that small circle you travel does that word come up.

j2says
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j2says 02/16/09 - 04:55 pm
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I make perfect sense, I'm

I make perfect sense, I'm saying that I personally don't think they should close because schools are now integrated. HBCU's were built out of necessity they remain because they offer something different to their students. Saying an HBCU should close on the basis of integration alone is like saying Wellesley should close because Harvard is co-ed now.

mable8
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mable8 02/16/09 - 05:00 pm
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You are right Christian134;

You are right Christian134; if the HBCU's need $$$, then perhaps they can do what other CU's do: old fashinoned fundraising and have their illustrious alumae provide some of the much needed cash. Far as educational institutions go, they are all strapped for operational cash, HBCU's are finally finding themselves in the same boat--but want handouts rather than becoming innovative and bringing in what is needed. They also need to open their doors wider and WELCOME students of OTHER races. If they do this, then they are in the real world.

j2says
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j2says 02/16/09 - 05:15 pm
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Mable8 HBCU's already do

Mable8 HBCU's already do everything you mentioned. They are no more looking for a handout than any other college. The article was not a solicitation for money but a mention of the facts. I'm pretty sure the reporter came to them and not the other way around. They are facing the same woes as any other college or university and the alumni are experiencing the same economic uncertainty that many Americans are facing.

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