Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the country are seeing record jumps in enrollment for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The renowned Howard University, for example, may have welcomed its largest freshman class in the school’s 154-year history. Bowie State University in Maryland reported an 8% increase in enrollment this year.
“Our enrollment continues to rise and increase year over year,” Bowie State President Aminta Breaux told NBC News. “We’re seeing more students from the West Coast, the Midwest, from the southern states.”
The record increase comes after a years-long decline in enrollment at the historic educational institutions. Some school officials are pointing to the Black Lives Matter movement, increased donations, and Black awareness among students for the record increase in enrollment.
“We’re attracting students who have a significant interest in social justice and an interest in addressing what they see as the ills of society,” Howard University Provost Anthony Wutoh told the outlet.
Donations and federal funding has also poured into the schools, allowing many to wipe out student debt and expand educational opportunities. Legislation is also being crafted specifically to support infrastructure renovations at HBCUs. The number of partnerships with companies and government agencies to address systemic issues Black people face have also continued to grow at HBCUs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The USDA launched a partnership with HBCUs to conduct research to support Black farmers, Bloomberg donated millions to several historically Black medical schools to expand vaccine outreach. Google, JP Morgan, Chase, and others have also launched initiatives to support HBCU students.
People who “didn’t understand the value that we bring to our communities are now learning about HBCUs,” Breaux said. HBCUs make up just 3% of the nation's universities yet are responsible for producing roughly 20% of all Black professionals and 25% of Black professionals in STEM fields.