HBCUs Admit Non-Black Applicants, Students Are Critical

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Mr. Press is pictured instructing his U.S History class in his Morehouse sweater he pridefully showcases.

As Wilde Lake African American seniors are closing the chapter of their high school careers, many are preparing to continue their education in college, as some have set their sights specifically on attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs). 

Recently administrators at HBCU institutions are looking to attract more diversity within the non-black community as they believe tuition from these students is much needed for economic stability in order to keep these institutions up and running. Due to this, data confirms that HBCUs around the country have experienced an increase in non-black student enrollment. 

“The blackness is what makes HBCUs so special,” says Ralph Compass, who plans on attending Howard University, an HBCU. “The positive representation of the African American community as a whole lays within an HBCU. These institutions give people the opportunity to see the true diversity within it, and not just a generalized narrative of black life.”

Shaniyah Carmichael, who has also wants to continue her education career at Howard University, says, “HBCUs speak toward my identity because, as a black woman navigating in this world of white supremacy, I can find comfort in the walls of an institution who values my culture and skin.”

In light of the shared cultural experiences HBCUs provide, the controversial topic surrounding the admission of non-black applicants elicits many mixed responses. 

Mr. Press, Wilde Lake teacher and 2014 graduate of Morehouse University, has positively expressed his support of non-African American students being admitted to black institutions. “You can often find that minorities at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) don’t feel apart of the mainstream community, which is why you’ll see certain ethnic groups only hanging out with their own people. So, to be in a place that is for and by people of color, even if that place is predominantly black, I think there is a higher likelihood that they’ll feel accepted, and not judged as they would in a PWI.” 

However, Ralph Compass and Shaniyah Carmichael are more reluctant towards the idea. Compass has experienced mixed feelings when it comes to admitting non-black students, as he believes that the admission of these students could contribute to the lack of representation for black voices. Carmicheal also adds that, “Admitting many white people into these institutions subtly dismantles this culture that these students most likely strive for.”

In regards to Carmichael’s response, Mr. Press proudly reconfirms her held hopes of HBCUs, saying, “One of the most special things about HBCUs is that you’re surrounded by people who have an intrinsic understanding of you, and it’s a place where you’re free of the assumptions and stereotypes that are present in most of the spaces you’ll move through in your life.”