(Photo Courtesy of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund)

The ongoing state and federal cuts to funding are continuous hitting higher ed as we continue to face an economic crisis in America. The main attack is on nation historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which raises the question, “Are our black colleges relevant?” And the answer is very much “yes.”

HBCUs were established independently by an educator, slave or black church in serving, teaching and training folk of the African-American culture as well serving those communities. Today, HBCUs served a diverse population. These institutions are equally important to the higher ed sector for the reason that they play the role as the backbone institutions of education.

For more than 150 years, HBCUs have nurtured, provide, and serve academic excellence to low-income, first-generation, and academically underprepared students. Though those students were previous or are label as “a risk of not entering or completing college,” HBCUs continue to thrive in the mission of building confidence to turning those students into educated, successful testimonies.

The purpose question is the value of a college degree and how beneficial will it be in ensuring a career opportunity after college. According to UNCF’s 6 Reasons HBCUs Are More Important Than Ever, it states that wages have stagnated, college tuition has steadily climbed, and more students are saddled with crushing college debt than ever before.

HBCUs forcefully had to tragically raise its tuition consequentially due to budget cuts from the state or federal are frequently happening, in addition to its low endowment and alumni giving figures. It is crucial that graduates and supporters of HBCUs, take the initiative and interest to give back to an institution actively.

You will never know when the state might cut and how much of a deficit the state is facing. In this case, Lincoln University of Missouri was just announced with an across the state deduction of 7.7% and will leave Lincoln with a $1.34 million reduction from its current FY 2018 budget.

Referring back to UNCF’s study, the nation’s 107 HBCUs make up just 3 percent of America’s colleges and universities, yet they produce almost 20 percent of all African-American graduates and 25 percent of African-American graduates in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – which are the critical industries of the future. And HBCU tuition rates are on average almost 30 percent less than at comparable institutions.

Even though, HBCUs deliver an educational opportunity at a lower cost. The institutions assist in maintaining a young men or women’s life from the streets of their communities, out of the statistics and in a scholastic environment that aid them in preparing industrial training for life.

When you invest back in your HBCU, you are paying homage to the activist of those in which they spent in an educational institution that taught African-Americans to adventure out to educate and train others so that African-Americans are equipped for today’s society. Furthermore, when you decide to invest back, think of innovative ways that it can work financially or physically in an individual future as well as the institution itself.

Consider returning to campus and getting involved in positively promoting the institution. Volunteer and assist in recruiting prospective students to the university or college, exposing them to essentials that they may not have been aware of at an HBCU.

Your contributions will play off in the awareness of outside supporters, parents, and college seeking students on how mindful an HBCU relevance is a need in today’s society. However, in this day and time, there are also many support foundations that advocate and tribute to HBCU such as UNCF, TMCF, Tom Joyner Foundation, and the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF). You may also consider visiting the HBCU of your choice website and find ways to give as well.

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