The Effects of Attending HBCUs vs. PWIs on Quality of Life

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8th Feb 2020 Education Reference this

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Abstract

This study examined the effects that attending an HBCU vs. PWI has on the quality of life of Black and White students. Undergraduate students from both HBCUs and PWIs completed questionnaires about the quality of life at their school. A quantitative, longitudinal study was used. It was hypothesized that both HBCUs and PWIs would have no effect on the GPA of both Black and White students but may result in more academic involvement by Black Students and have no effect on that of White students. It was also predicted that the HBCUs would positively affect the social life of Black students compared to PWIs and that there would be no change in social life satisfaction from PWIs to HBCUs for White students. In addition, Black students would be more satisfied at HBCUs overall and there would be no difference in satisfaction for White students at HBCUs vs. PWIs. Finally, it was hypothesized that both Black students and White students at HBCUs would say that most of their friends and other classmates would be more satisfied with the overall quality of life at their school compared to at PWIs. These predictions were consistent with the findings of other studies such as those of Terenzini et al. (1997) and Outcalt et al. (2002). Overall, these findings could further the understanding of the experiences of both Black and White students at PWIs and HBCUs as well as have the potential to improve the experiences of both groups of students at PWIs and HBCUs by incorporating the aspects that had positive effects on their quality of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Effects of Attending HBCUs vs. PWIs on Quality of Life

The decision of where to attend college is one that many people will have to make in their lifetime. Several factors to consider include location, size, and cost. Additionally, college type may be a significant factor such as either a Historically Black College/and or University (HBCU) or a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). An HBCU is a college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose primary goal is to educate Black Americans while a PWI is a college or university where White students make up 50% or more of the student population. HBCUs were originally created with the purpose of creating “an educational system of higher learning that would be accessible and equal to that offered to whites”. (Brooks and Starks, 2011) HBCUs provide the option of higher education to those who otherwise may not have that opportunity. (Lagniappe Weekly) Research focusing on the significance of HBCUs and the comparison between HBCUs vs. PWIs is relevant for multiple reasons. One of these reasons is that this information is important when making a decision about college, and could be useful to many. Another reason is that if research shows that there are elements of HBCUs that contribute to a more overall positive experience for black students then it would be crucial to attempt to incorporate these elements into PWIs as well. Finally, the existence of HBCUs has been challenged in the legal arena before, such as in the case of United States v. Fordice, 1992. (Outcalt, Skewes-Coxe, p. 331)

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 Prior research studies that focused on this topic include those of Charles L. Outcalt and Thomas Edmund Skewes-Cox in 2002 and of Patrick T. Terenzini, Patricia M. Yaeger, Louise Bohr, Ernest T. Pascarella, and Amaury Nora in 1997. Outcalt and Skewes-Cox’s study explored the relationships between institutional climate, student involvement, and overall satisfaction with the college experience by black students attending HBCUs and sought to explain the importance of HBCUs to black students and the benefits provided. The research of Terenzini, Yaeger, Bohr, Pascarella, and Nora investigated differences between the experiences had and perceptions of the campus climate by black students who attended HBCUs compared to black students who attended PWIs. Their research also examined if those differences in experiences and perceptions of the campus climate were connected to differential gains in cognitive abilities. The purpose of this current research study is to answer the question regarding: What are the effects on the quality of life of black and white students attending PWIs and HBCUs?The phrase quality of life refers to mental health and academic success in this case.

Review of Literature

College students make up a significant portion of the United States. The US is currently made up of 329,256,465 people. Out of these millions of people, 19,930,000 are enrolled in college. Examining this population further, these students are enrolled in either Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) or Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). The majority of students are enrolled in PWIs compared to HBCUs. Statistics show that in 2016 there were 102 HBCUs located in the US and in the fall of 2015, the total number of students enrolled in HBCUs was 293,000. In comparison, in 2015, statistics showed that approximately 4,627 colleges existed in total in the US.

HBCUs and PWIs

An HBCU is a college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose primary goal is to educate Black Americans. In contrast, a PWI is a college or university where White students make up 50% or more of the student population. The decision of whether to attend an HBCU or PWI is one that many people have to make when choosing a college to attend.

The History of HBCUs. HBCUs were originally created with the purpose of creating “an educational system of higher learning that would be accessible and equal to that offered to whites.” (Brooks and Starks, 2011) These institutions provide the option of higher education to those who otherwise may not have that opportunity. (Lagniappe Weekly) A very small amount of traditionally White colleges accepted Black students in the beginning of the 19th century and in the middle of the 19th century, there were only three schools where the majority of the students there were Black. After the Civil War is when schooling for Black students majorly expanded. These schools began in places such as church basements, old schoolhouses, and homes. Today some well known HBCUs include schools such as Howard University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.

Comparing HBCUS and PWIs. There is an ongoing debate about the HBCU vs. PWI and students’ overall experience at each school. Prior research studies that focused on this topic include those of Charles L. Outcalt and Thomas Edmund Skewes-Cox in 2002 and of Patrick T. Terenzini, Patricia M. Yaeger, Louise Bohr, Ernest T. Pascarella, and Amaury Nora in 1997. Outcalt and Skewes-Cox’s study explored the relationships between institutional climate, student involvement, and overall satisfaction with the college experience by Black students attending HBCUs and sought to explain the importance of HBCUs to Black students and the benefits provided. Some of their findings indicated that at HBCUs the level of academic involvement of Black students was higher than at PWIs. Academic involvement was described as more students tutored others, completed homework on time, and fewer were bored in class. Other findings were that fewer students participated in intramural sports at HBCUs and fewer students participated in racial/cultural workshops, ethnic studies courses, and racial/cultural organizations. Their research also found that overall Black students tend to be more satisfied at HBCUs compared to PWIs. The research of Terenzini, Yaeger, Bohr, Pascarella, and Nora investigated differences between the experiences had and perceptions of the campus climate by black students who attended HBCUs compared to Black students who attended PWIs. Their research also examined if those differences in experiences and perceptions of the campus climate were connected to differential gains in cognitive abilities. Some of their findings showed that there was no difference in cognitive gains between Black students attending HBCUs and PWIs although there were differences in experiences of the two groups. Further study of this topic would provide a better understanding of the experiences of those attending HBCUs compared to those attending PWIs. Therefore, the following research question is posed:

What are the effects on the quality of life of black and white students attending PWIs and HBCUs? The phrase quality of life refers to mental health and academic success in this case.

Method 

Participants

Participants included 60 undergraduate students from six colleges in the Northeastern region of the United States. Out of these 60 students, 30 were male and 30 were female. Five Black students and five White students were chosen from each school. Three of these schools were HBCUs while the remaining three were PWIs. The HBCUs chosen were Morgan State University, Howard University, and Hampton University, while the PWIs chosen were University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Boston University. These students were all freshmen between the ages of 18-24, when they first began this study and had GPAs of at least 2.5. These students volunteered for the study and were informed that they could leave the study at any time if they no longer wanted to participate. As an incentive to participate in this study, participants received a Visa gift card after completing the study.

Materials

The quality of life of students was measured using questionnaires that the participants were required to fill out individually The questionnaires included questions using the “Quality of college life of students” scale created by M. Joseph Sirgy, Stephan Grzeskowiak, and Don Rahtz. This scale includes questions such as “In general, how satisfied are you with the overall quality of college life (QCL) at (College/ University); that is, your academic and social life on campus?”, “How satisfied are you with the overall QOL for you personally at (College/University)”, and, “How satisfied, would you say, most of your friends and other classmates are with the overall QOL at (College/University)?”.

Design

 The research design used was a quantitative, longitudinal study. The students participated in this study over the course of four years. The in-person interviews were conducted three times: once while the participants were in their freshman year of college, a second time while in their junior year of college, and the final time in their senior year of college. The main independent variable in this study is the college that each student attends while the main dependent variable is the students’ quality of life.

Procedure

At the first meeting, a researcher came to each college to meet with the students. There, students gave informed consent. The consent form provided participants with an assigned identification number. Students were also asked to provide information on another form about their GPA, age, socioeconomic class, and race. The researcher then did a brief introduction so that the participants had the opportunity to introduce themselves and share some of their background.

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To begin the study, the participants were taken to a separate room to fill out the questionnaire. After the students finished filling out the questionnaires the researcher thanked them and they were allowed to leave.

The first time the researcher met with these students, they were in the first semester of their freshman year of college. The researcher would then return to their respective colleges a second time in the first semester of their junior year and then for a final time in the second semester of their senior year. Each time, the same practice would be conducted; the students would be given a questionnaire and then would participate in an in-person interview. At the end of the study, the students were thanked for their time and given a VISA gift card if they had completed the study.

Discussion

Expected Results

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects that attending an HBCU vs. PWI had on the quality of life of Black and White students. The participants used in this study were students from Morgan State University, Howard University, Hampton University, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Boston University. There are several predictions about the results of this study. The first prediction is that both HBCUs and PWIs will have no effect on the GPA of both Black and White students but may result in more academic involvement by Black Students and have no effect on that of White students. Next, HBCUs will positively effect the social life of Black students compared to PWIs and that there will be no change in social life satisfaction from PWIs to HBCUs for White students. Another prediction is that Black students will be more satisfied at HBCUs overall and that there will be no difference in satisfaction for White students at HBCUs vs. PWIs. Finally, the last prediction is that both Black students and White students at HBCUs would say that most of their friends and other classmates would be more satisfied with the overall QOL at their school compared to at PWIs.

 These predictions are consistent with the findings of other studies such as those of Terenzini et al. (1997) and Outcalt et al. (2002). One finding of the study by Terenzini et al. was that there was no difference in cognitive gains between Black students attending HBCUs and PWIs. However, the results did convey that there were differences in experiences between the two groups. One finding of the study by Outcalt et al. (2002) was that at HBCUs the level of academic involvement of Black students was higher than at PWIs. Examples of this higher level of academic achievement were that more students tutored others, completed homework on time, and fewer were bored in class. Another finding of this study was that overall Black students tended to be more satisfied at HBCUs compared to at PWIs.

Strengths and Limitations

 Some of the strengths of this study were that we were able to draw participants from a variety of colleges and follow them over their college careers. In contrast, some of the limitations of this study were that the sample size was limited and could only include a certain number of participants and students, there were other outside variables that could have impacted our results, and this study used self-report measures so some results could be flawed such as reports on academic performance because people weren’t truthful in their answers.

Implications

 Our research on the effects of HBCUs vs. PWIs on the quality of life of both Black and White students could be expanded in multiple ways. One way is that the results of this study could be used to improve the experiences of both Black and White students at both PWIs and HBCUs. Therefore, elements that had positive effects on the quality of life of students at one school could be incorporated into other schools. Another direction this research could go in is a future study on the effects of HBCUs and PWIs on aspects other than quality of life as well as including other groups in this study such as students of Asian or Hispanic background.

Future Directions

 Overall, this study provided us with findings that furthered understanding of the experiences of both Black and White students at PWIs and HBCUs, specifically about the effects these schools have on the students’ quality of life. These findings have the potential to improve the experiences of both groups of students at both PWIs and HBCUs by incorporating the aspects that had positive effects on their quality of life. This research could also be continued in several ways such as by involving different groups of students or looking at other aspects that the schools may affect.

References

Abstract

This study examined the effects that attending an HBCU vs. PWI has on the quality of life of Black and White students. Undergraduate students from both HBCUs and PWIs completed questionnaires about the quality of life at their school. A quantitative, longitudinal study was used. It was hypothesized that both HBCUs and PWIs would have no effect on the GPA of both Black and White students but may result in more academic involvement by Black Students and have no effect on that of White students. It was also predicted that the HBCUs would positively affect the social life of Black students compared to PWIs and that there would be no change in social life satisfaction from PWIs to HBCUs for White students. In addition, Black students would be more satisfied at HBCUs overall and there would be no difference in satisfaction for White students at HBCUs vs. PWIs. Finally, it was hypothesized that both Black students and White students at HBCUs would say that most of their friends and other classmates would be more satisfied with the overall quality of life at their school compared to at PWIs. These predictions were consistent with the findings of other studies such as those of Terenzini et al. (1997) and Outcalt et al. (2002). Overall, these findings could further the understanding of the experiences of both Black and White students at PWIs and HBCUs as well as have the potential to improve the experiences of both groups of students at PWIs and HBCUs by incorporating the aspects that had positive effects on their quality of life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Effects of Attending HBCUs vs. PWIs on Quality of Life

The decision of where to attend college is one that many people will have to make in their lifetime. Several factors to consider include location, size, and cost. Additionally, college type may be a significant factor such as either a Historically Black College/and or University (HBCU) or a Predominantly White Institution (PWI). An HBCU is a college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose primary goal is to educate Black Americans while a PWI is a college or university where White students make up 50% or more of the student population. HBCUs were originally created with the purpose of creating “an educational system of higher learning that would be accessible and equal to that offered to whites”. (Brooks and Starks, 2011) HBCUs provide the option of higher education to those who otherwise may not have that opportunity. (Lagniappe Weekly) Research focusing on the significance of HBCUs and the comparison between HBCUs vs. PWIs is relevant for multiple reasons. One of these reasons is that this information is important when making a decision about college, and could be useful to many. Another reason is that if research shows that there are elements of HBCUs that contribute to a more overall positive experience for black students then it would be crucial to attempt to incorporate these elements into PWIs as well. Finally, the existence of HBCUs has been challenged in the legal arena before, such as in the case of United States v. Fordice, 1992. (Outcalt, Skewes-Coxe, p. 331)

 Prior research studies that focused on this topic include those of Charles L. Outcalt and Thomas Edmund Skewes-Cox in 2002 and of Patrick T. Terenzini, Patricia M. Yaeger, Louise Bohr, Ernest T. Pascarella, and Amaury Nora in 1997. Outcalt and Skewes-Cox’s study explored the relationships between institutional climate, student involvement, and overall satisfaction with the college experience by black students attending HBCUs and sought to explain the importance of HBCUs to black students and the benefits provided. The research of Terenzini, Yaeger, Bohr, Pascarella, and Nora investigated differences between the experiences had and perceptions of the campus climate by black students who attended HBCUs compared to black students who attended PWIs. Their research also examined if those differences in experiences and perceptions of the campus climate were connected to differential gains in cognitive abilities. The purpose of this current research study is to answer the question regarding: What are the effects on the quality of life of black and white students attending PWIs and HBCUs?The phrase quality of life refers to mental health and academic success in this case.

Review of Literature

College students make up a significant portion of the United States. The US is currently made up of 329,256,465 people. Out of these millions of people, 19,930,000 are enrolled in college. Examining this population further, these students are enrolled in either Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) or Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). The majority of students are enrolled in PWIs compared to HBCUs. Statistics show that in 2016 there were 102 HBCUs located in the US and in the fall of 2015, the total number of students enrolled in HBCUs was 293,000. In comparison, in 2015, statistics showed that approximately 4,627 colleges existed in total in the US.

HBCUs and PWIs

An HBCU is a college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose primary goal is to educate Black Americans. In contrast, a PWI is a college or university where White students make up 50% or more of the student population. The decision of whether to attend an HBCU or PWI is one that many people have to make when choosing a college to attend.

The History of HBCUs. HBCUs were originally created with the purpose of creating “an educational system of higher learning that would be accessible and equal to that offered to whites.” (Brooks and Starks, 2011) These institutions provide the option of higher education to those who otherwise may not have that opportunity. (Lagniappe Weekly) A very small amount of traditionally White colleges accepted Black students in the beginning of the 19th century and in the middle of the 19th century, there were only three schools where the majority of the students there were Black. After the Civil War is when schooling for Black students majorly expanded. These schools began in places such as church basements, old schoolhouses, and homes. Today some well known HBCUs include schools such as Howard University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College.

Comparing HBCUS and PWIs. There is an ongoing debate about the HBCU vs. PWI and students’ overall experience at each school. Prior research studies that focused on this topic include those of Charles L. Outcalt and Thomas Edmund Skewes-Cox in 2002 and of Patrick T. Terenzini, Patricia M. Yaeger, Louise Bohr, Ernest T. Pascarella, and Amaury Nora in 1997. Outcalt and Skewes-Cox’s study explored the relationships between institutional climate, student involvement, and overall satisfaction with the college experience by Black students attending HBCUs and sought to explain the importance of HBCUs to Black students and the benefits provided. Some of their findings indicated that at HBCUs the level of academic involvement of Black students was higher than at PWIs. Academic involvement was described as more students tutored others, completed homework on time, and fewer were bored in class. Other findings were that fewer students participated in intramural sports at HBCUs and fewer students participated in racial/cultural workshops, ethnic studies courses, and racial/cultural organizations. Their research also found that overall Black students tend to be more satisfied at HBCUs compared to PWIs. The research of Terenzini, Yaeger, Bohr, Pascarella, and Nora investigated differences between the experiences had and perceptions of the campus climate by black students who attended HBCUs compared to Black students who attended PWIs. Their research also examined if those differences in experiences and perceptions of the campus climate were connected to differential gains in cognitive abilities. Some of their findings showed that there was no difference in cognitive gains between Black students attending HBCUs and PWIs although there were differences in experiences of the two groups. Further study of this topic would provide a better understanding of the experiences of those attending HBCUs compared to those attending PWIs. Therefore, the following research question is posed:

What are the effects on the quality of life of black and white students attending PWIs and HBCUs? The phrase quality of life refers to mental health and academic success in this case.

Method 

Participants

Participants included 60 undergraduate students from six colleges in the Northeastern region of the United States. Out of these 60 students, 30 were male and 30 were female. Five Black students and five White students were chosen from each school. Three of these schools were HBCUs while the remaining three were PWIs. The HBCUs chosen were Morgan State University, Howard University, and Hampton University, while the PWIs chosen were University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Boston University. These students were all freshmen between the ages of 18-24, when they first began this study and had GPAs of at least 2.5. These students volunteered for the study and were informed that they could leave the study at any time if they no longer wanted to participate. As an incentive to participate in this study, participants received a Visa gift card after completing the study.

Materials

The quality of life of students was measured using questionnaires that the participants were required to fill out individually The questionnaires included questions using the “Quality of college life of students” scale created by M. Joseph Sirgy, Stephan Grzeskowiak, and Don Rahtz. This scale includes questions such as “In general, how satisfied are you with the overall quality of college life (QCL) at (College/ University); that is, your academic and social life on campus?”, “How satisfied are you with the overall QOL for you personally at (College/University)”, and, “How satisfied, would you say, most of your friends and other classmates are with the overall QOL at (College/University)?”.

Design

 The research design used was a quantitative, longitudinal study. The students participated in this study over the course of four years. The in-person interviews were conducted three times: once while the participants were in their freshman year of college, a second time while in their junior year of college, and the final time in their senior year of college. The main independent variable in this study is the college that each student attends while the main dependent variable is the students’ quality of life.

Procedure

At the first meeting, a researcher came to each college to meet with the students. There, students gave informed consent. The consent form provided participants with an assigned identification number. Students were also asked to provide information on another form about their GPA, age, socioeconomic class, and race. The researcher then did a brief introduction so that the participants had the opportunity to introduce themselves and share some of their background.

To begin the study, the participants were taken to a separate room to fill out the questionnaire. After the students finished filling out the questionnaires the researcher thanked them and they were allowed to leave.

The first time the researcher met with these students, they were in the first semester of their freshman year of college. The researcher would then return to their respective colleges a second time in the first semester of their junior year and then for a final time in the second semester of their senior year. Each time, the same practice would be conducted; the students would be given a questionnaire and then would participate in an in-person interview. At the end of the study, the students were thanked for their time and given a VISA gift card if they had completed the study.

Discussion

Expected Results

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects that attending an HBCU vs. PWI had on the quality of life of Black and White students. The participants used in this study were students from Morgan State University, Howard University, Hampton University, University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Boston University. There are several predictions about the results of this study. The first prediction is that both HBCUs and PWIs will have no effect on the GPA of both Black and White students but may result in more academic involvement by Black Students and have no effect on that of White students. Next, HBCUs will positively effect the social life of Black students compared to PWIs and that there will be no change in social life satisfaction from PWIs to HBCUs for White students. Another prediction is that Black students will be more satisfied at HBCUs overall and that there will be no difference in satisfaction for White students at HBCUs vs. PWIs. Finally, the last prediction is that both Black students and White students at HBCUs would say that most of their friends and other classmates would be more satisfied with the overall QOL at their school compared to at PWIs.

 These predictions are consistent with the findings of other studies such as those of Terenzini et al. (1997) and Outcalt et al. (2002). One finding of the study by Terenzini et al. was that there was no difference in cognitive gains between Black students attending HBCUs and PWIs. However, the results did convey that there were differences in experiences between the two groups. One finding of the study by Outcalt et al. (2002) was that at HBCUs the level of academic involvement of Black students was higher than at PWIs. Examples of this higher level of academic achievement were that more students tutored others, completed homework on time, and fewer were bored in class. Another finding of this study was that overall Black students tended to be more satisfied at HBCUs compared to at PWIs.

Strengths and Limitations

 Some of the strengths of this study were that we were able to draw participants from a variety of colleges and follow them over their college careers. In contrast, some of the limitations of this study were that the sample size was limited and could only include a certain number of participants and students, there were other outside variables that could have impacted our results, and this study used self-report measures so some results could be flawed such as reports on academic performance because people weren’t truthful in their answers.

Implications

 Our research on the effects of HBCUs vs. PWIs on the quality of life of both Black and White students could be expanded in multiple ways. One way is that the results of this study could be used to improve the experiences of both Black and White students at both PWIs and HBCUs. Therefore, elements that had positive effects on the quality of life of students at one school could be incorporated into other schools. Another direction this research could go in is a future study on the effects of HBCUs and PWIs on aspects other than quality of life as well as including other groups in this study such as students of Asian or Hispanic background.

Future Directions

 Overall, this study provided us with findings that furthered understanding of the experiences of both Black and White students at PWIs and HBCUs, specifically about the effects these schools have on the students’ quality of life. These findings have the potential to improve the experiences of both groups of students at both PWIs and HBCUs by incorporating the aspects that had positive effects on their quality of life. This research could also be continued in several ways such as by involving different groups of students or looking at other aspects that the schools may affect.

References

  • Anderson, M. (2017, February 28). A look at historically black colleges and universities as Howard turns 150. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/28/a-look-at-historically-black-colleges-and-universities-as-howard-turns-150/
  • Brooks, F. Erik & Starks, Glenn L., 1966- (2011). The Origins of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Their Expansion. Historically Black colleges and universities : an encyclopedia. Greenwood, Santa Barbara, Calif
  • Chepkemoi, J. (2017, September 29). How Many Colleges are in the US? Retrieved from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/how-many-colleges-are-in-the-us.html
  • Freemark, S. (2015, August 20). The History of HBCUs in America. Retrieved from http://www.americanradioworks.org/segments/hbcu-history/
  • National Center for Education Statistics. Back to school statistics. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372
  • National Center for Education Statistics. Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=667
  • Outcalt, C. L. & Skewes-Cox, T. E. (2002). Involvement, Interaction, and Satisfaction: The Human Environment at HBCUs. The Review of Higher Education 25(3), 331-347. Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Statista. U.S. college enrollment statistics 1965-2027. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/statistics/183995/us-college-enrollment-and-projections-in-public-and-private-institutions/
  • Terenzini, Patrick T.; Yaeger, Patricia M.; Bohr, Louise; Pascarella, Ernest T.; Amaury, Nora. (1997). African American College Students’ Experiences in HBCUs and PWIs and Learning   Outcomes. National Center on Postsecondary Teaching, Learning, and Assessment, University Park, PA. Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc. (2016, September 19). The importance of HBCUs. Retrieved from https://www.tmcf.org/community-news/the-importance-of-hbcus/9732.

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