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Empowering HBCUs: Strategies for Sustaining Growth Amidst Declining Enrollment

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HBCUs have been facing many challenges that threaten their existence. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, during the 2018-19 school year, more than 6,000 fewer students attended the 101 black colleges and universities in the U.S. It is important to note that despite the decline overall, some HBCUs are growing.   

What measures can aid HBCUs facing a decline in student acquisition? 

The enrollment decline is a significant concern for HBCUs as it can lead to decreased funding and resources.  Partnering with companies that help with student acquisition and retention can benefit HBCUs in several ways. Here are some of the benefits: 

Enhanced Student Enrollment: Collaborating with companies specializing in student acquisition can boost the number of enrollees at HBCUs. Through these partnerships, HBCUs can extend their outreach, connecting with a broader and more diverse student demographic, thereby drawing in a larger student body to their institutions. 

Improved Retention: Partnering with companies specializing in student retention empowers HBCUs to elevate their retention rates. These collaborative efforts equip HBCUs with valuable tools and resources to support students in their academic and social success, ultimately contributing to increased student persistence. 

Development and Management of Online Programs: Online programs offer a flexible and accessible mode of education, allowing HBCUs to reach a broader and more diverse student population, transcending geographical boundaries. Online programs can serve as a cost-effective means to deliver quality education, thus reducing the financial burden on the institution and students. 

Financial Support: Some companies offer financial support to HBCUs that partner with them. This support can come in the form of scholarships, grants, or other types of funding. 

Networking Opportunities: Partnering with companies can provide HBCUs with networking opportunities. These opportunities can help HBCUs connect with potential employers and other organizations that benefit their students. 

Access to Resources: Collaborating with HBCUs can provide them with access to resources that they may not have otherwise. These resources can include technology, research facilities, and other tools that can help HBCUs improve their academic programs. 

In the face of declining enrollment and the challenges threatening their existence, HBCUs have a lifeline through strategic partnerships with companies, offering the hope and support needed to ensure their continued growth and success. 

Danielle Jennings, DBA, MBA.

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