100 HBCU’s Strive Towards President Obama’s Collegiate Challenge

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World

The HBCUs are taking immediate steps making plans to rise to President Obama’s challenge: for the United States to have the highest percentage of college graduates by the time 2020 arrives.  Approximately 100 presidents from historically black institutions of higher education will be meeting in Atlanta to converse on how they can do their part to fulfill Obama’s vision.

The Associated Press reports that “John Wilson, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, says the country will need to produce about 8 million more graduates — 2 million of whom need to be African-American, and 200,000 from historically black colleges” in order for Obama’s goal to come into fruition. The problem is that many current and prospective black college students are dependent upon financial aid such as the Pell Grant which is being eyeballed by Congress as prime meat for cutting.

Mary Evan Sias, president of Kentucky State University, says, “You shouldn’t have to divide and say access or success. At a time when we need to be graduating more students, we can’t afford to drop the amount of money that we’re giving those students.” Whereas this appears to be a reasonable observation, Clark Atlanta University President Carlton Brown foresees Obama’s goal still being attainable. He states that “we have to understand that there has to be some investment in pre-college education and a whole new standard of outcomes. It’s possible, but we need the political will.”

This is a part of Ayvaunn Penn‘s Black And Making It series. She is also a spoken word artist and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. For more of her witty-word works click here. To have your original poetry featured by Ms. Penn on Your Black Poets, click here.


2 responses to “100 HBCU’s Strive Towards President Obama’s Collegiate Challenge

  1. When I graduated from a Virginia high school in 1962, the ONLY college I could attend was an HBCU. The integrated schools up north and out west were not on the family radar screen. I was VERY fortunate because of that fact because the professors and staff loved the students, actually wanted us to succeed, and had no reason to hate us because of our skin color. I hope the same is true today. My situation then was due to the times and the environment of societal emphasis on the over-development of most if not ALL whites and at most the under-development and/or no-development of most if not all Blacks — you see, exclusion from the better funded and equipped public and private white schools under de jure “separate but equal” was the mantra. I thank and praise God Almighty for our HBCU’s and have faith and hope that their leaders, staff, students, alumni, and friends can find and successfully implement uplifting (A Phi A) ways to meet and exceed the goals set by the Obama administration.

  2. HBCUs are good for our students, the schools however have to step their games up to compete in the WORLD, we have some naturally brilliant minds that will succeed anywhere. We have wonderful traditions, however we defend our Inadequaties where our behavior is less that promoting the best in our people. Our administrations act like “Crabs in a Barrel” they promote themselves to the point that they should be drummed out of education.

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