December 3, 2023


Education is everything you need

HBCUs are not minority-serving institutions (letter)


To the Editors:

In “The Forgotten Predominantly Black Establishments of Larger Ed,” Kurt Schmoke and Zalwaynaka Scott, respectively presidents of the College of Baltimore and Chicago Point out, both of those designated predominantly black institutions (PBIs), make an “urgent” attraction for positioning PBIs “at the forefront of increased education equity conversations,” along with HBCUs.

In so undertaking, the authors mis-define HBCUs as minority-serving institutions (MSIs) and present a comparison among congressional investments in HBCUs and PBIs, which, for the level they seek out to make, is like comparing the proverbial apples to oranges.

The misaligned comparison amongst HBCUs and PBIs is rooted in the failure of the authors, like lots of, to recognize that unlike PBIs, Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs), Asian American, Indigenous American and Pacific Islander institutions (AANAPISIs), Indigenous American serving non-tribal establishments (NASNTIs), Alaska Indigenous & Indigenous Hawaiian-serving institutions (ANNHSIs), all of which are by definition minority-serving institutions (MSIs), neither HBCUs nor tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) are MSIs.  

HBCUs and TCUs are mission-based mostly establishments that ended up born out of the affirmative discrimination by the federal governing administration. HBCUs and TCUs have been launched to remediate the de jure discrimination against African Americans and American Indians, respectively, and the continuing vestigial impacts of the discrimination. Neither HBCUs nor TCUs has a race or ethnicity prerequisite.

In spite of the shortcomings of the argument posited by our esteemed colleagues, we share their summary that PBIs need to have robust federal support. The appropriations system applied to establish the PBI share of federal bucks by Congress has shortcomings.

PBIs are underfunded relative to other individuals in their MSI cohort (PBIs, HSIs, AANAPISIs, NASNTIs, and ANNHSI) in huge measure since nicely-meant congressional appropriators wrestle to assure equitable investments in the below-resourced, diverse MSI subsets, as the amount of MSIs are rising due to the fact of  America’s increasing diversity. In different funding streams,  our champion appropriators, struggle to fund at concentrations to accommodate their increasing desires and confirmed outcomes, the mission-based HBCUs and TCUs, established to redress affirmative discrimination by the federal government.

PBIs should not feed into the fantasy that PBIs and HBCUs are nearly the similar with diverse histories, nor that PBIs and HBCUs are competing establishments. Neither the histories, missions, targeted student cohort, nor preferred results are the same.  

Our group, NAFEO, led in shaping the PBI provisions in the 2008 HEA amendments at the request Congressmen Danny Davis (Unwell.),  Major Owens (N.Y.), Ed Townes (N.Y.), Donald Payne Sr. (N.J.) and Senator Ted Kennedy (Mass.), to create a plan to present customers of Congress who had pockets of low-cash flow, first generation African Us citizens in their states, who attended community and private nonprofit establishments that enrolled a considerable proportion of these college students, a car or truck for Congress to make investments in strengthening these institutions, as a signifies of accelerating closing the education gap.

We look ahead to continuing to work with Congressman Danny Davis, the unique writer of the 2007 PBI laws, and a stalwart champion of PBIs, and with the Chairs and members of the congressional schooling authorization and appropriation committees, with presidents Schmoke, Scott, the CEOs of the other 78 establishments we think qualify as PBIs,  and the HBCU community, to make certain the PBIs receive funding equivalent to their MSI colleagues, and that we have a widespread agenda and strong collaborative voice for PBIs.

–John Pierre
Chancellor, Southern University Regulation Center
Chair, NAFEO Presidents’ Do the job Group on Plan, Advocacy and Legislation

–Lezli Baskerville
President & CEO
National Affiliation for Equal Chance in Bigger Education and learning


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