Historically Black Colleges and Universities: A Bridge over Troubled Waters

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Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are a unique set of institutions established between the Civil War and the establishment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to serve African Americans. They have made noteworthy contributions to African American students to include access, attainment, and opportunities not commonly afforded to students of color. Now, nearly 60 years after the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, HBCUs are demonstrating their resilience and commitment to serving the needs of their students, faculty, and communities. Like other institutions of higher learning, HBCUs face countless challenges arising as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, administrators have watched as these challenges trickled down to their students. It has been documented that students who had to evacuate campus were left homeless and hungry, with no income or way to provide for themselves (Hawkins, 2020). Notably, HBCUs serve countless low-income, first-generation students who are severely impacted by the changes made to federal and state policies due to the pandemic that affect higher education institutions, such as to financial aid and student loans; these changes have a direct effect on students’ ability to access education and institutions’ ability to provide a quality education to students.

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