Failing HBCUs: Should They Receive Life Support or the Axe?

Two years ago I attended a student debate at North Carolina Central University, one of the state’s five public historically black colleges and universities. It was fascinating, especially given the self-examination raised by its topic, “HBCUs: Can They Survive?” The moderator asked several incisive questions: Would the closure of HBCUs materially impair black students’ access to higher education? Would closing some HBCUs make the remaining ones stronger? Would the civil rights leaders of the 1950s and 1960s support an enduring HBCU presence today? As I reported at the time, the students eloquently argued both “pro” and “con” positions and deeply engaged with the relevant facts and issues. If only more of today’s political and higher education leaders did the same.

Universities’ Credit Ratings Indicate the Need for Bold Reform

North Carolina’s higher education market is, for the most part, vibrant. The state is home to more than 50 four-year universities as well as 60 community colleges. And online education, certificate programs, and non-traditional job training initiatives have given prospective students even more options. Nevertheless, some institutions are experiencing significant financial woes. Unaddressed, such problems could result in campus closings or, worse, perpetual taxpayer bailouts of ineptly-managed universities.

Debating HBCUs

An event at NC Central posed tough questions about the viability of historically black universities.