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Expanding our Focus and Embarking on a Quest for Success

Embarking on a "Quest for Success" with FocusQuest's New Course

In a bid to empower the next generation with essential life skills, FocusQuest has recently unveiled its latest educational offering – the “Quest for Success” course. Excitement surrounds the more than 50 middle school students who have embarked on this transformative journey, which kicked off in the month of October.

Expanding our Reach: FocusQuest is extending its educational impact beyond higher education. 

We now proudly offer courses that leverage our expertise to bring about positive change in middle and high school education, as well as lifelong learning beyond college and higher education. Acknowledging the crucial role of establishing a robust foundation for academic and personal success during these formative years, we are delighted to introduce our latest educational offering – the “Quest for Success” course.

What Does the Course Entail? 

The “Quest for Success” course is a comprehensive program comprising eight modules that delve into the fascinating realm of critical thinking. Each module addresses key aspects crucial for a student’s academic journey, including topics such as “Discovering Yourself as a Student,” “Time Management,” “Study Skills,” “Test-Taking Strategies,” and practical applications of critical thinking.

Featuring an In-depth 90-Page Booklet by the FQ Team  

As an integral part of the course, participants receive a 90-page booklet meticulously crafted by the FocusQuest team. This comprehensive resource serves as a guide throughout the program, providing additional insights, exercises, and valuable information to complement the module content.

Why is it Crucial for Middle School Students? 

The foundation for academic and personal success is laid during the formative years of middle school. Recognizing this pivotal stage, “Quest for Success” aims to equip young minds with indispensable skills. Critical thinking, time management, and effective study habits take center stage in this course. These skills not only contribute to academic excellence but also prepare students for the challenges that lie ahead.

An Investment in the Future 

Enrolling in “Quest for Success” is more than just participating in a course – it’s an investment in the future. FocusQuest believes in shaping well-rounded, thoughtful, and high-achieving individuals. By providing middle school students with the tools they need to navigate both academia and life, FocusQuest is paving the way for a generation of individuals poised for success.

As we witness the commencement of “Quest for Success” in the month of November, we anticipate the positive impact it will have on the lives of these middle school students, fostering a community of learners who are not just academically adept but also equipped with the skills to thrive in the complexities of life. Explore the full spectrum of our courses offerings and set the stage for academic excellence and students’ personal growth: FocusQuest Courses.

#education #course #academicskills

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The Future of Education: Embracing Online Learning

The Future of Education: Embracing Online Learning

In today’s ever-evolving world, education is undergoing a radical transformation. Traditional brick-and-mortar institutions are no longer the sole source of knowledge and skills. Online learning, often known as e-learning or digital education, is reshaping the educational landscape. The future of education now largely rests on online learning. In this piece, we’ll delve into what online learning means, how it bridges gaps in education, and the critical areas for future development.

Online learning effectively addresses several critical gaps in the traditional education system:

  • Accessibility: It eliminates geographical barriers, democratizing education for those in remote or underserved areas.
  • Flexibility: Online learning provides unprecedented flexibility, catering to modern learners’ diverse needs and schedules.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Online courses are often more cost-effective, with savings on commuting, housing, and living expenses, and abundant free educational content available online.
  • Personalization: It allows a high degree of personalization through adaptive technology and data analytics, tailoring course content to individual student needs.
  • Lifelong Learning: Online learning encourages lifelong learning, enabling adults to acquire new skills and switch careers.
  • Global Perspective: It fosters a global perspective by facilitating interaction with peers and instructors from diverse backgrounds.

As online learning becomes integral to the future of education, there are several key areas deserving attention:


  • Quality Assurance: Rigorous course development and evaluation processes are vital to establish trust and credibility. Accreditation bodies need to adapt to online learning and set digital-era standards.
  • Pedagogical Innovation: Instructors must learn to engage students in an online environment through interactive and participatory techniques.
  • Digital Literacy: Both students and educators must develop digital literacy to ensure a smooth online learning experience.
  • Access to Technology: Bridging the digital divide is essential, making technology more affordable and accessible, particularly in underserved communities.
  • Student Support Services: Online students require additional support services to prevent feelings of isolation or being overwhelmed.
  • Lifelong Learning Frameworks: Education systems should adapt to promote lifelong learning, recognizing its value throughout one’s career.
  • Credentialing and Recognition: Employers and institutions should recognize the legitimacy of online qualifications and create transparent credentialing processes.
  • Collaboration and Networking: Online learning fosters virtual study groups, online communities, and global collaborations.


FocusQuest offers comprehensive solutions for institutions looking to implement online learning effectively. Our expertise in course development, quality assurance, and digital pedagogy can empower institutions to lead the way in the education of the future.

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Puma Illustrates the Power of Black Excellence (We’re Legends)

Puma Illustrates the Power of Black Excellence (We're Legends)

“We Are Legends” is PUMA’s new storytelling and product developing platform celebrating Black excellence and cultural impact.

The collection seeks to honor the Black creatives trailblazing influence on cultural progression around the globe and strives to empower and amplify the voices of our Black community—our legends. Championed and led by an internal collective of Black designers, the name, “We Are Legends,” reminds us to celebrate the now in Black culture and not just the rich history of past. The “We Are Legends” mission is to both increase representation within the design industry and drive real change within the very communities we are celebrating. The collective established a three-pillar model to ensure this initiative is making a tangible impact over time through donation, awareness, and community. Through “We Are Legends,” PUMA aims to be the brand that fights for representation in the design industry and the world.

“The name, We Are Legends, comes from the idea of celebrating the now in Black culture. Often when we celebrate Black culture, we look to the past. However, our collective wanted to help change this narrative
by empowering people to speak up in their most authentic voices now, to create their own legacy that will be legendary,” said Ariel Weeks, chair of the PUMA B-Bold ERG and footwear merchandising manager.


Puma Illustrates the Power of Black Excellence (We're Legends) FocusQuest

“I am extremely proud to introduce the world to We Are Legends, a collective of Black designers who are a prime example of when employees step up to drive and be the change that they want to see. This first collection within the We Are Legends platform, The Yard, is a homage to the spirit of the beloved HBCU experience and a celebration of Black excellence.”

“The goal of We Are Legends is to not only tell stories that are authentic and highlight the beautiful aspects of Black culture, but through this platform PUMA will aim to lead the charge in activating the next generation of Black creatives through building early awareness and providing accessibility to roles in this industry via strategic partnerships, mentorship, and education,” said Michelle Marshall, director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (PUMA North America).

The debut collection within the We Are Legends platform, “The Yard,” is inspired by Homecoming–a tradition in many high schools and colleges in the United States where they welcome back former students and members. The collection features men’s and women’s apparel in a bright palette of maroon, purple, and orange. Designs use material mixing and multi-placed collegiate graphics that unify schools, yard culture, and heritage. PUMA classics like the Suede are revamped with modern accents, shapes, and a neo-archival head-to-toe style. Design details references styles worn by HBCU students in the past and currently, capturing the culture’s deep history and honoring their contributions to American style.

“The Yard,” the first collection under the We Are Legends platform will release globally on Oct. 1, 2022, on the PUMA app and at the New York City Flagship store. On Oct. 3, 2022, the collection will be available on and select retailers worldwide with a retail price range of $40 to $120.

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IBM Teams With 20 HBCUs to Address Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

IBM Teams with 20 HBCUs to Address Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

20 HBCUs will work with IBM to establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers, giving students and faculty access to IBM training, software, and certifications at no cost.

During the National HBCU Week Conference convened by the U.S. Department of Education and the White House, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced its collaboration with 20 Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) to help them establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers.

With 500,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., the need for expertise is critical: According to a recent IBM Security study, insufficiently staffed organizations average $550,000 more in breach costs than those that state they are sufficiently staffed.**

“Collaborations between academia and the private sector can help students prepare for success. That’s especially true for HBCUs because their mission is so vital,” said Justina Nixon-Saintil, Vice President, IBM Corporate Social Responsibility and ESG. “The Cybersecurity Leadership Centers we’re co-creating with Historically Black College and Universities epitomize our commitment to the Black community and STEM education; it also builds on our pledge to train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over three years.”

IBM will collaborate with the following 20 HBCUs across 11 states to co-create Cybersecurity Leadership Centers, helping to create talent for employers and opportunities for students. (Six of these collaborations were previously announced in May*)

  • Alabama – Alabama A&M University, Talladega College, Tuskegee University
  • Florida – Edward Waters University, Florida A&M University
  • Georgia – Albany State University, Clark Atlanta University*
  • Louisiana – Grambling State University, Southern University System*, Xavier University of LA*
  • Maryland – Bowie State University, Morgan State University*
  • Mississippi – Alcorn State University
  • North Carolina – North Carolina A&T State University*, North Carolina Central University
  • South Carolina – South Carolina State University*, Voorhees University
  • Texas – Texas Southern University
  • Virginia – Norfolk State University
  • West Virginia – West Virginia State University

Through IBM’s collaboration, faculty and students at participating schools will have access to coursework, lectures, immersive training experiences, certifications, IBM Cloud-hosted software, and professional development resources, all at no cost to them. This includes access to:

Cybersecurity curricula: IBM will develop for each participating HBCU, a customized IBM Security Learning Academy portal – an IBM client offering – including courses designed to help the university enhance its cybersecurity education portfolio. In addition, IBM will continue to give access to IBM SkillsBuild.

Immersive learning experience: Faculty and students of participating HBCUs will have an opportunity to benefit from IBM Security’s Command Center, through which they can experience a highly realistic, simulated cyberattack, designed to prepare them and train them on response techniques. Moreover, HBCUs’ faculty will have access to consultation sessions with IBM technical personnel on cybersecurity.

Software: Multiple IBM Security premier enterprise security products hosted in the IBM Cloud

Free Person Using Macbook Air Stock Photo
Professional development: Forums to exchange best practices, learn from IBM experts, and discover IBM internships and job openings

About IBM Education

As part of the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility efforts, IBM’s education portfolio takes a personalized, diverse, and deep approach to STEM career readiness. IBM’s pro bono programs range from education and support for teens at public schools and universities, to career readiness resources for aspiring professionals and job seekers. IBM believes that education is best achieved through the collaboration of the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors.

IBM SkillsBuild is a free education program focused on underrepresented communities, that helps adult learners, and high school and university students and faculty, develop valuable new skills and access career opportunities. The program includes an online platform that is complemented by customized practical learning experiences delivered in collaboration with a global network of partners. The online platform offers over 1,000 courses in 19 languages on cybersecurity, data analysis, cloud computing and many other technical disciplines — as well as in workplace skills such as Design Thinking. Most important, participants can earn IBM-branded digital credentials that are recognized by the market. The customized practical learning experiences could include project-based learning, expert conversations with IBM volunteers, mentors, premium content, specialized support, connection with career opportunities, access to IBM software, among others. As of February 2022, IBM SkillsBuild operates in 159 counties and is supporting 1.72M learners since its launch.

About IBM Security

IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM Security X-Force® research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research, development, and delivery organizations, monitors 150 billion+ security events per day in more than 130 countries, and has been granted more than 10,000 security patents worldwide. For more information, please check, follow @IBMSecurity on Twitter or visit the IBM Security Intelligence blog.

* Announced in May 2022
** Cost of a Data Breach Report 2022, conducted by Ponemon Institute, sponsored & analyzed by IBM

Media Contact:

Ari Fishkind
IBM Media Relations

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16 HBCU Medical Students Will Work on NFL Staffs (Diversity Initiative)

16 HBCU Medical Students Will Work on NFL Staffs (Diversity Initiative)

16 HBCU Medical Students Will Work on NFL Staffs (Diversity Initiative)

16 medical students from four HBCUs will work on the staff of National Football League (NFL) teams this season as part of the NFL’s Diversity Initiative.

The Associated Press reports the 14 students currently attend the Morehouse School of Medicine, the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, the Howard University College of Medicine, and the Meharry Medical College.

The students will be assigned to one of eight teams: the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and the Washington Commanders.

The HBCU students will work with the teams as part of the league’s goal to increase diversity in sports medicine. The initiative is a joint program between the NFL Physicians Society (NFLPS) and the Professional Football Athletic Trainer Society (PFATS).

According to Fox Sports, a recent study examining the diversity of U.S. medical students shows Black students make up just 7.3% of medical students. That figure has risen less than one percent over the last 40 years and is far less than 13.4% of the U.S. Black population.

“My biggest hope through this experience is to inspire youth, especially those from under-represented backgrounds to pursue professions like medicine where they can do incredible things such as sports medicine with the NFL,” Felipe Ocampo, a Charles Drew Medical student, told the AP.

The month-long medical rotations will begin in September. The medical students will get first-hand experience working with an NFL organizations and will work under the supervision of NFL orthopedic team physicians, primary care team physicians, and athletic trainers.

The HBCU medical students will have their work cut out for them. NFL teams are constantly dealing with injured players during the season. According to USA Today, last year, the Baltimore Raves and New York Giants led the league in games missed by injured players with more than 300 games collectively.


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Kamala Harris Says Attending HBCU Was A Childhood Dream

HBCU Love: Kamala Harris Says Attending Howard Was A Childhood Dream Actualized


When Kamala Harris enters the halls of Capitol Hill, Howard University goes with her. It’s impossible to separate the prominent policymaker from the institution that helped define her career. The place that nurtured her into the woman she is today.

Before she ever ran for the district attorney of San Francisco, the Attorney General of California, a U.S. Senate seat or the president of the United States, a 17-year-old Harris, ran a successful campaign for the title of freshman class representative of Howard’s liberal arts student council. “That was my first run for public office,” “And when you run for public office at Howard University, you can run for office anywhere.”

Harris quickly learned that the competitive instinct of her college peers was “no joke,” but it was still important for her to hit Howard’s gates running. In addition to serving on the student council, she sparred on the debate team, chaired the economics society and pledged the Alpha chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “My aunt Chris, who was the one who really had a big influence on me, was an AKA and pledged at Howard,” Harris reveals. “So it was just very natural for me to want to end up pledging in the sorority which I feel really rounded out my experience. It’s a sisterhood that lasts till today.”

Though Howard was on the opposite side of the country from the Bay Area where she was brought up, the Senator from California contests that it was so similar to the world she had come to know. “I grew up in a community that was, in part, about civil rights, that had a whole piece about the revolution, and collectively it taught me about the nuances of the diaspora.” While still a candidate for president, she’d often say that she spent most of her childhood surrounded by adults who spent their full time “marching and shouting for this thing called justice.” The daughter of an Indian mother and Jamaican father explains that those years prepared her to learn from students who were from all across the Continent, the Caribbean, and different pockets of the United States. “Some of my closest friends were from Detroit and Jersey, the South Side of Chicago. And it was about us coming together and teaching each other new things.”

While Harris’s upbringing laid the foundation for her to spread her wings at Howard, it was her experience at the HBCU that taught her how to soar. She maintains that the years she spent on the D.C. campus developed her for the role she’d play in life and helped her create the identity she would eventually present to the world. Much of that, Harris says, is because Howard ensured there was no excuse to fail. It’s an attribution, she contends, can be ascribed to all Black colleges and universities which have for years played an indelible role in the fabric of this country.

“There’s something special about the investment that an HBCU places in its students,” the staunch HBCU advocate says. “It’s about the nurturing. It’s about refining. It’s about all that goes into making someone transition from being a child into an adult. And in that way, it’s very tough love.”

All the love that the university once showed the distinguished Democrat, is now reflected in Harris’s commitment to ensuring that institutions like Howard are not left behind. Since entering the halls of Congress in 2017, she has proposed bills to preserve their historic buildings and sites, advocated for increased spending, and introduced legislation to ensure that these pillars in the Black community are properly funded.

Harris explains that her interest in protecting these schools is multifaceted. While she’s driven in part by her own experiences, she also knows that to lose them or to have them fall behind the standards of predominantly White institutions, would be a loss for the entire country. “HBCUs have produced so many doctors and scientists, and those labs, because they don’t have the kinds of endowments that other schools have, have not necessarily caught up,” Harris imparts. “When we have research, medical and scientific research, happening at HBCUs, it acts as a function for all the people who come for treatment to those hospitals and helps our awareness then, of cultural and genetic factors.”

The potential VP pick says the work doesn’t end there. “We also need to support teacher programs at HBCUs,” she says. “If you look at the facts and the data, it shows that if a Black child by the end of third grade has had a Black teacher, they’re 13 percent more likely to go to college. If that child has had two Black teachers, they’re 32 percent more likely to go to college. So we need to put money into HBCUs to encourage and create grants for students to become teachers, because I know the generational impact of that.”

Harris first fell in love with her undergraduate alma mater as an impressionable child. “My aunt would talk about it because she went there, and so I always romanticized what Howard is and was,” she admits. And though her Black college experience is far behind her, the memories and the impact is still seen today. At every campaign rally, political appearance, and Senate congressional hearing, you can see her Howard University pedigree peeking out. Being a Bison introduced the attorney, author and HBCU advocate to the women who would give birth to her godchildren and form her support system. It taught her to be fully aware of her capacity and her being. It defined who she was and laid a no-excuses path toward her future dreams.

“Howard University is ‘The Mecca,’ ” Harris avers. “And it was a very special, very special time in my life.”


HBCU students (graduation ceremony)
Black man holding a megaphone in a demonstration
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How HBCUs can Accelerate Black Economic Mobility

How HBCUs can Accelerate Black Economic Mobility

Historically Black colleges and universities are uniquely positioned to inspire and support Black Americans in the five critical roles they play in the US economy.

The first higher-education institution for Black Americans in the United States was founded in 1837. Since then, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have established themselves as anchor institutions in their communities and critical platforms for the education and advancement of students of color. HBCUs confer 17 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to Black students in the United States, have boosted their students into higher-income quintiles and into prominent political positions, and continue to be key sources of talent. And they are doing all of this with endowments that are seven times smaller, on average, than those of non-HBCUs.

HBCUs have an opportunity to accelerate Black economic mobility even more. Recent events have prompted philanthropists and large corporations to donate to and partner with HBCUs. If such attention and funding could be sustained—and increased—HBCUs could help to unlock not only more advancement for Black Americans but also strong economic performance for the United States. In fact, our data show that a strong HBCU network could increase Black worker incomes by around $10 billion in addition to strengthening the economy with $1.2 billion in incremental business profit, $300 million in decreased student-loan debt, and $1 billion in additional consumer expenditures.

As the McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility (BEM) and the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) found in their recent report, significant economic and human value can be gained when Black Americans, playing critical economic roles as workers, entrepreneurs and business owners, consumers, savers and investors, and residents, are fully engaged in the economy. HBCUs are uniquely positioned to foster such engagement.

In this article, we outline how HBCUs have substantively improved the economic and educational positions of Black Americans and others in the United States. We also consider the impact these institutions could have for individuals who play the critical roles in the economy cited earlier—and the prosperity they could unleash for many communities.

The impact of HBCUs

HBCUs were established in the United States in the early 19th century out of necessity: most US colleges at the time prohibited Black students from attending. And even up to a century after the end of slavery, Black students were still not welcome at many public and private higher-education institutions. Today, more than 100 institutions in the United States identify as HBCUs, with total average annual attendance of around 300,000 students. And they consistently deliver strong outcomes, especially on economic mobility.

Historically Black colleges and universities consistently deliver strong outcomes, especially on economic mobility.

Supporting students

HBCUs represent just 3 percent of all higher-education institutions in the United States, but 10 percent of all Black students matriculating through US colleges are enrolled at HBCUs. What’s more, 17 percent of all bachelor’s degrees and 24 percent of all STEM-related bachelor’s degrees earned by Black students in the United States were conveyed by HBCUs, according to a 2019 report. HBCUs also supply more Black applicants to medical schools than non-HBCU institutions. And HBCUs have graduated 40 percent of all Black engineers; 40 percent of all Black US Congress members; 50 percent of all Black lawyers; and 80 percent of all Black judges.

These institutions enroll more than twice as many Pell Grant-eligible (low-income) students as non-HBCU institutions and help create economic mobility for those populations. Graduates of HBCUs are 51 percent more likely to move into a higher-income quintile than graduates of non-HBCUs. The mean mobility rate across all US colleges is 1.6 percent, but the mean mobility rate for HBCUs is 3.0 percent.

The mean mobility rate for HBCUs is 3.0 percent, nearly double that of all colleges in the United States.

In addition to academic and economic outcomes, HBCUs positively contribute to the physical health of their attendees. A recently published study found that Black students who attended an HBCU were less likely to develop risk factors for chronic disease later in life than those who attended predominantly White institutions.

Additionally, Black HBCU graduates are more than twice as likely as Black graduates of non-HBCUs to report having experienced three major support measures while at school—for example, a professor who cared about them as a person; a professor who made them excited about learning; or a mentor who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams. The positive effects of such support extend into these graduates’ lives long after graduation: Black HBCU graduates report higher levels of well-being across many areas, including measures of purpose, social well-being, financial well-being, and engagement at work.

Serving the community

Eighty-one percent of HBCUs are located in US counties where the median wage is below the national average. In addition, 65 percent of HBCUs, compared with 47 percent of non-HBCUs, are in geographic areas where past and projected net job growth is slower than average 

Without HBCUs, the economic prospects of these communities could be even worse. According to one report, the nation’s HBCUs create 134,090 jobs for their local and regional economies, and every dollar spent by an HBCU and its students generates $1.44 in spending for local economies.

What’s more, there is an “inherent trust” and “cultural sensitivity” built up over time among HBCUs and the neighborhoods and communities in which they operate. HBCUs can leverage this trust to offer much-needed services and programs to their communities, including skills training, food pantries, and medical clinics—and, just recently, COVID-19-related services. For instance, during the pandemic, Alabama State University partnered with state and local officials to provide free COVID-19 testing for public-housing residents in its hometown of Montgomery.

HBCUs: Engines for economic growth

A recent report released by MGI and BEM examines the status of Black Americans, how they are served by public programs, and why addressing any identified gaps could transform lives. We believe HBCUs are uniquely positioned to help fill these gaps—and lift up Black Americans—given their assets, experience, and cultural and historical significance. What follows is an overview of the role HBCUs can play to support Black workers, entrepreneurs and business owners, consumers, savers and investors, and residents. We discuss the actions these institutions can take to accelerate their impact among the students they serve and within the communities in which they operate.

1. Expanding opportunities for Black workers

According to this research, Black Americans in the workforce earn a median annual wage that is approximately 30 percent, or $10,000, lower than that of White workers. More than 60 percent of that gap is driven by less than 4 percent of all occupational categories, with Black workers overrepresented in low-wage jobs and underrepresented in higher-wage jobs. Although Black Americans represent around 13 percent of the total US population, they account for only 5 percent of physicians and 4.5 percent of software developers, for example—but more than 35 percent of all US nursing assistants.

HBCUs can accelerate progress for Black workers primarily by enrolling more students and by graduating a higher share of them. Our research suggests that higher enrollment and retention and graduation rates could translate to an increase in Black worker incomes of $10 billion per year (see sidebar “How we calculated the increased income opportunity for Black American workers”).

Enrollment. Our research points to several potential remedies for increasing enrollment. HBCUs could draw more K–12 students into the college pipeline by partnering with school districts and allowing students to take college courses (and potentially complete an associate’s degree) while in high school. They could also hold summer camps for younger students to build interest and awareness of HBCU programs and opportunities. Additionally, HBCUs could target nontraditional student populations for enrollment. Morehouse College recently announced a discounted online program for people with some college credits. The program aims to serve “more than two million Black men who pursued a higher education [but] never finished their degree,” according to the US Census Bureau.

Retention and graduation rates. Beyond a focus on increasing enrollment, HBCUs could dedicate additional resources toward boosting retention and graduation rates. Many HBCUs have large populations of low-income and first-generation college students who are less likely to stay the course and graduate. Some HBCUs are seeking to improve their support for these students and increase the odds that they will graduate. Dillard University, Howard University, and Morgan State University, for instance, have partnered with the Lumina Foundation on its HBCU Student Success Initiative, in which the institutions collaboratively develop and share best practices for retaining and graduating students, with a particular focus on supporting sophomores.

HBCUs can also ensure that their degree programs are preparing students for high-paying, in-demand careers. For instance, McKinsey’s BEM and MGI research shows that relatively few Black students choose courses of study that could set them on a medical path. HBCUs could provide more career and academic coaching to support students’ awareness of the medical field and what’s required to obtain, say, chemistry or biology degrees. They could also establish new degrees and training programs to develop and support professionals in high-tech fields. For instance, IBM is partnering with 13 HBCUs to build a new Quantum Center that gives students access to IBM quantum computers, as well as educational support and research opportunities. Similarly, tech giants such as Netflix are partnering with HBCUs to offer coding boot camps for students.

HBCUs could also play a role in reskilling and upskilling, especially as increases in automation create additional threats to Black employment. Tennessee State University, for instance, has worked for several years to teach coding and application design to students and adults in the community.

2. Accelerating Black business ownership and entrepreneurship

There is an estimated $1.6 trillion gap in aggregate revenue between Black-owned and non-Black-owned businesses across the US economy—a figure that has only grown over recent decades. McKinsey research shows that there are fewer Black-owned businesses in the United States, and the ones that do exist are smaller than their peers. Black-owned businesses constitute just 2 percent of the nation’s total businesses with multiple employees, and they account for less than 1 percent of US gross revenue. Further, Black-owned businesses have been financially limited by both geography and industry; many are concentrated in the South and in industries like haircare, beauty, and social services, which grow less than 2 percent per year.

Lack of capital is a critical issue for Black-owned businesses. Black entrepreneurs start businesses with roughly a third of the capital of their White counterparts. And more than half of Black business owners state that accessing capital is a constant challenge in scaling their businesses. The lack of capital can also leave existing businesses vulnerable to financial shocks and economic downturn. During the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, Black-owned businesses closed nearly twice as fast as all other businesses.

What’s more, Black businesses receive a very small percentage of start-up capital: $1 billion of the total $150 billion invested in US start-ups in 2020, or just 0.7 percent. Black women received the smallest share of start-up capital (0.27 percent), and just 4 percent of the entire venture-capital workforce is Black, with 2 to 3 percent in investment decision-making positions.

There is an opportunity, then, for HBCUs to help train and develop the next generation of Black entrepreneurs and to help Black entrepreneurs scale up and sustain businesses in their communities. This could create $5 billion to $12 billion in incremental revenue and $250 million to $1.2 billion in incremental business profits using a 5 to 10 percent estimated profit margin.31

HBCUs can continue to encourage entrepreneurship through strong on-campus business programs or by introducing full-degree or certificate programs in entrepreneurship. HBCUs could also work to create partnerships with venture-capital firms to help match students with potential employers, thereby filling their pipelines with high-quality, diverse talent.

Additionally, HBCUs could establish campus accelerator or incubator programs that could offer students funding and investment support, and perhaps even more important, hands-on experience in building a start-up business—all in an academic setting. Some traditional venture-capital firms, including Andreessen Horowitz and SoftBank, have made multimillion dollar pledges to invest in Black entrepreneurs. Such companies could go even further and dedicate money directly to HBCU-housed funds, allowing HBCUs to make investment decisions that would most benefit their communities (see sidebar “Spotlight on HBCUs and entrepreneurship”).

By developing the next generation of Black entrepreneurs, HBCUs can have an outsize impact on equity and diversity.

3. Removing barriers for Black consumers

Black consumers spend over $800 billion every year, but research suggests that nearly $300 billion more could be unlocked if their purchasing experiences weren’t blocked by several factors, including food deserts (regions and communities with limited access to fresh food) and lack of broadband access.

Many HBCUs are situated in areas where Black consumers’ needs are not being met. For instance, 82 percent of HBCUs are in broadband deserts; 50 percent are in food deserts; and 35 percent are in areas without superstores that could offer consumers a full range of groceries, furniture, and clothing. McKinsey research suggests that if HBCUs could share resources with students and communities, an additional $1 billion in additional consumer expenditures could be unleashed (by satisfying the unmet consumer demand in these communities).

Black Americans experience the digital divide in communities where historically Black colleges and universities are situated.

For example, HBCUs can establish campus community gardens and consider ways to provide organic produce to food-insecure students and members of the broader community. They can also offer educational programs on the importance of nutrition and fresh food. That is what the University of the District of Columbia has done with its creation of five urban food hubs in various sites across metro Washington, DC. The hubs use production systems that factor in the urban environment, including raised beds for gardens and green roofs and hydroponic and aquaponic growing methods. The hubs provide students and community members with access to fresh food. The initiative has created jobs, improved public health, mitigated water-management problems—and ultimately created a measure of urban resilience in the metro area.

HBCUs could also optimize their existing broadband infrastructures and arrange to give community members affordable access to the network. With greater access to broadband, more people could then take advantage of virtual economic and educational resources that would otherwise be unavailable to them.

To provide more connectivity, HBCUs may need to look for partners. Benedict College is working with the University of South Carolina (USC) to provide open access to eight computer labs across the state of South Carolina, including one on Benedict College’s campus. The labs are located in areas where local school districts, HBCUs, the South Carolina Technical College System, and community members can get to them relatively easily. Benedict College and USC will supply the space, maintenance, and utilities so the labs will be free to users. This effort was funded by a $6 million Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund.

4. Supporting the savings and investments of Black households

The US racial wealth gap is the product of intergenerational transfers, lower incomes, and a lack of financial inclusion. BEM and MGI research shows, for instance, that the median Black household has just one-eighth the wealth of the median White household, with inheritances driving 60 percent of the disparity in annual flows. Smaller paychecks also mean that Black households save $75 billion less annually than White households. Black households are one-third less likely to own their homes, and the median value of those homes is one-third lower than those of White-owned homes.

Additionally, 14 percent of Black adults are unbanked—that is, they are not being served by a bank or similar financial institution. Of unbanked households, 29 percent cited insufficient money to meet minimum-balance requirements as the main reason for not having a bank account, while more than 16 percent said they do not trust banks. Proximity was less of a factor, with just 2.2 percent of respondents citing inconvenient bank locations.

HBCUs can help bolster students’ financial well-being while minimizing postgraduation financial obligations that can inhibit students’ savings and investing potential. Because of the racial wealth gap, a large percentage of HBCU students take out loans, often for large amounts: in 2017, HBCU students took out 32 percent more federal debt per student than non-HBCU students. McKinsey research shows that if the amount of federal debt awarded per year to HBCU students were equal to that awarded to students at peer institutions, HBCU students would accrue $280 million less in loan debt, which would significantly increase their ability to save and invest. To help their students achieve this parity, HBCUs could expand their scholarship offerings and secure more federal grants.

HBCUs also have an opportunity to address banking barriers and help to remove predatory debt traps for students and community members. Because HBCUs are often highly trusted institutions in their communities, they can connect their students and communities with more inclusive financial services—for example, ones without minimum-balance requirements.

Financial well-being, already a common topic at universities, could be an area of focus for HBCUs. They could serve as a knowledge hub for the broader community and offer public seminars on personal investing or cryptocurrencies. The Society for Financial Education and Professional Development has created a student ambassador program that trains students at 15 HBCUs in personal financial concepts so that they can teach others in turn.

And as the financial industry moves away from traditional brick-and-mortar banks and into mobile banking and neobanks—which operate exclusively online—HBCUs have an opportunity to connect their students and communities with innovative financial-management products that may better fit their needs (see sidebar “Spotlight on HBCUs and financial well-being”).

Through carefully selected partnerships and the right learning programs, HBCUs can give students and community members opportunities to increase their savings and wealth, while limiting the risks and concerns Black Americans associate with traditional banking services.

5. Serving Black residents

The quality of education, healthcare, and other essential services varies immensely among communities across the United States, but even more so in Black neighborhoods.

Consider the quality of education: K–12 education is funded through property taxes; thus, the national average for annual instructional spending in public-school districts in which 75 percent or more of the student population is Black is $1,800 less per pupil than in predominantly White school districts. Research shows that although spending per pupil is not the only factor determining educational outcomes, per-student sustained spending does matter.

The situation is even more concerning when it comes to healthcare. Lack of access to healthcare and insurance can have serious consequences, including a racial gap in life expectancy that has widened to five years between White and Black Americans: a McKinsey analysis of 2021 county health rankings shows that if that gap didn’t exist, there might be 2.1 million more Black Americans alive today. Counties where HBCUs are located account for around 500,000 of those lives.

Community services. There are many ways in which HBCUs can help create higher-quality services in their own neighborhoods. For instance, many HBCUs offer teaching degrees in which students are required to fulfill practicums to earn credits. There is an opportunity, then, for HBCUs to place these student teachers where they are needed most within their own communities. Additionally, HBCUs could establish tutoring programs for K–12 students—especially in STEM fields, which have a significant lack of Black representation. HBCUs can also offer their facilities and faculty to run quality summer camps to keep local K–12 students learning and engaged while on summer break (see sidebar “Spotlight on HBCUs serving residents”).

Healthcare. HBCUs can help improve residents’ access to healthcare by attracting and graduating more medical-industry workers. And many HBCUs—especially those offering degrees in medical professions—can offer community clinics that provide health services at little or no cost to neighborhood residents. Meharry Medical College’s Salt Wagon Clinic, a student-run clinic supervised by faculty physicians, provides free, high-quality care to Nashville’s underserved populations and serves as a training ground for Meharry medical students. Meanwhile, in April 2021, four HBCU medical schools in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Washington, DC, received funding to administer more than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines from mobile units in their local communities.

HBCUs have overperformed—even as they have been underfunded relative to (predominantly White) peer institutions. When compared with institutions with endowments over $1 billion, HBCUs demonstrate a sizable and growing gap in private gifts, grants, and contracts—from more than $100 million on average in 2010 to more than $220 million in 2018.

University endowments are critical for providing stability for institutions (as revenues fluctuate over time); offering student-aid packages; pursuing innovative teaching methods or research initiatives; and enabling longer-term execution of ideas and programs. Between 2018 and 2019, however, the average non-HBCU institution had seven times the endowment value of the average HBCU. In fact, the top ten higher-education institutions on the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings have 50 times the endowment resources of all the four-year HBCUs combined.50 What’s more, the average four-year non-HBCU institution has around $1.25 in endowment funding for every $1 in their budget, while the average four-year HBCU only has about 50 cents for every $1. Our analysis shows that if four-year HBCUs had $1.25 in endowment funding for every budget dollar, they would earn an additional $6 billion in endowments. The gap is even larger when viewed through the student lens: four-year HBCUs have around $20,000 in endowment resources for each student, while four-year non-HBCUs have four times that amount per student. If these HBCUs had the same amount of endowment resources as four-year non-HBCUs, they could contribute an additional $17 billion into HBCU endowments for student resources.

Some states are already recognizing and seeking to address the underfunding of HBCUs. Corporations and organizations, too, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, sought to add or accelerate initiatives to support HBCUs and recruit HBCU students. In fact, 2020 was for some HBCUs their strongest-ever year of fundraising. The opportunity for sustained impact from these institutions is significant. According to our research and calculations, HBCUs have the potential to produce more high-earning graduates, support the development of more entrepreneurs, decrease student debt, and remove barriers for Black consumers. If the current level of attention and funding given to HBCUs can be sustained over time, these institutions can continue the critical work they have been doing since 1837: dramatically improving lives and livelihoods and advancing economic mobility for Black Americans.



In 2012, HBCU’s graduated 23% of African-Americans who earn undergraduate degrees in the USA. →

HBCU's graduated nearly 23% of African-Americans who earn undergraduate degrees in the United States.

In 2012, research showed that HBCU’s graduated nearly 23% of African-Americans who earn undergraduate degrees in the United States.

Specifically, “over half of all African-American professionals are graduates of HBCUs, nine of the top 10 colleges that graduate the most African-Americans who go on to earn PhDs are HBCUs, and more than 50% of the nation’s public school teachers and 70% of African-American dentists earned degrees at HBCUs.” (The Role of Historically Black Colleges or Universities in Today’s Higher Education Landscape, International Journal of Education, pg. 227)



Business Development Manager

Business Development Managers are responsible for the development of a business or a company’s customer base. Business Development Managers are responsible for strengthening the company’s market presence, managing social media outlets, following up on lead generation, and coordinating public relations and marketing projects. Salaries are usually based on commission or performance based.

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Low: $28,000

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Digital Marketing Specialist

Digital Marketing Specialists are in demand and play an important role in promoting products and services to buyers or consumers via the internet. Digital Marketers must have a deep and comprehensive knowledge of marketing and have an awareness of the available internet technologies, consumer requirements, etc. They must also be aware of the needs of the companies and consumers.

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Low: $39,000

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Market Research Analyst

Market Research Analysts are responsible for analyzing a company’s business and marketing strategies, market share, and creating the plan to sell products and services. This role involves researching competitors that sell similar or the same product and researching various consumers behaviors and preferences.

Key Skills

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Media Coordinator

Media Coordinators plan and implement targeted communications and advertising. They research, write, proofread, and edit all content for broadcast, print, and online distribution channels. Media Coordinators are responsible for the execution of marketing and advertising campaigns for broadcast, digital, and media outlets.

Key Skills

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Sales / Marketing

A salesperson is in charge of ensuring products, goods, or services of the company get sold to customers. A salesperson can lead a business strategic marketing team, manage issues, develop qualified leads and new account opportunities, manage social media accounts, maintain accounting, marketing, and communication, and provide reports to upper management. Salaries are usually based on commission or performance based.

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Low: $31,000

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The second week in September, each year, is marked as National HBCU Week. →

The second week in September, each year is marked as National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week.

The second week in September, each year is marked as National Historically Black Colleges and Universities Week. The week pays tribute to their legacy of promoting equal opportunities for high-quality education. The week includes an annual conference in Washington DC where HBCUs are celebrated and acknowledged. The conference also recognizes select scholars and alumni from the HBCU community.