How COVID-19 is Affecting HBCUs

It’s no doubt that this pandemic period is second to none, and the education system is currently facing trying times ahead. Graduations were cancelled and the ceremonies postponed. Last year, a time like this, our future seemed certain. Not until the pandemic happened.

We have to concentrate on how Historically Black Colleges and Universities are faring amidst all these uncertainties. Sure enough, most people have tried to offer their help by contributing to black populated areas, for instance, Oprah (You can read my article on Oprah’s donation to Tennessee State University).

The big question is; what now? The long-dreaded month is here, and by the numbers, the US alone seems to be the hardest-hit areas in the whole world. How do we make a difference and what is happening to some of our universities? Or better yet, how are HBCUs students and the school curriculum faring on?

How HBCUs are coping during this pandemic

Most leaders in the historically black colleges and universities say that COVID-19 is a situation that they never planned for, but who can blame them. No one saw that this crisis could reach the levels it has today. HBCUs all over the country are facing unique challenges, and it’s taking a toll on their finances and community in general.

That’s because they’ve had to send students home, which means that they are currently incurring the loos of board and room fees. At the same time, such universities are expected to switch entirely to online classes which are taking an even deeper chunk into their budget.

That’s not all! Typically, HBCUs have reduced extra spending and income, which means they have a smaller endowment that acts as a financial buffer. Therefore, HBCUs rely most on a person to person experiences.

Some of the universities are going through the challenge of not having enough equipment to support a fully online class for all students. In fact, it even gets more complicated since students had to go home where a majority of them have no access to the internet or computers.

Helping HBCUs deal with COVID-19

The best way to assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities is by giving contributions where applicable so that they can rush and try to create a more conducive technological environment for their students.

Without a doubt, the adjustments to fully online classes are costly, but with a little help here and there, these universities will manage to ‘weather the storm.’ As of right now, most historically black colleges and universities are expecting a significant drop in their enrollment by at least 25% due to the current pandemic.

That means that every employee in such an institution will have a drop in their earnings or even responsibilities hence increasing job losses and pay cuts. All in all, the Department of Education set aside $1.4 billion in relief funding to cater for the minority institutions, including HBCUs.

This money is said to be part of the package that was authorized by Congress. That’s a single step in the right direction.

Where the HBCU Culture Resides