Predominately White Institutions and the Reasons they are Worth the Time and Money It was only a year ago when I was faced with making a very important decision that would affect me for the rest of my life. It was time for me to choose an institution of higher learning to continue my studies that would eventually lead me to my career. My decision wasn’t simply which university or college to choose, but as a young black student, whether to choose a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) or a Predominately White Institution (PWI).
This would take me on an insightful journey and I would make my decision after discussing the pros and cons of both institutions and through interactions with students, faculty and staff. Before too long it was clear to me that “white campuses provide superior environments for black educational development” and provide the best eventual opportunities and benefits for the student (Allen, W. R. ). The transition from high school to college can be very stressful. Deciding which school to go to only adds to this stress.
So many factors must be considered in trying to reach a decision, like the reputation of the school, the resources it has to offer and the location. For many college bound students the topic of this paper is not an issue. But Black students sometimes feel like they owe it to their race to attend an HBCU even if attending a PWI would better further their chances for success. For minority students, this is a part of the process, because we now have more options. We can choose between PWIs which educate mainstream America, or HBCUs which only educate individuals with the same experience, history and background.
Being able to choose from different types of schools can be bittersweet. The most important goal however is to receive a good education from a good school, which is a very important decision to make and the main topic of this paper. Choosing the PWI will provide the best outcome because it offers the education that will best prepare students for future endeavors. This became clearer to me after considering the pros and cons of each institution. Once upon a time, not so long ago, rich white males were the only people who were able to pursue and receive an advanced education. Over time men and omen of all races were given the opportunity to be able to attend college, more specifically the Predominately White Institution. As things changed, minorities wanted to get the same benefits as their white counterparts. Not only did they want to take advantage of the opportunity to get a college education but also the opportunity to get such an education from a school founded specifically to educate them. It was 1837 before this would happen. The founding of HBCUs created an opportunity for minorities to attend schools built specifically to fulfill their educational, cultural and community needs.
HBCUs give students the opportunity to matriculate in an atmosphere that will afford them many benefits. Cultural exposure, diversity and becoming apart of a community whose majority are members of a people with a shared and difficult history are just a few of the benefits of attending an HBCU. Although this is the focus of the HBCU it doesn’t mean that they will appeal to all minorities. Many students choose the option of attending an institution that focuses beyond cultural and community background and one which will educate them at the highest level. HBCUs graduate a good percentage of well rounded educated students.
HBCUs are necessary for this reason. Why would you go against an institution that is doing its job? “If an educational institution is producing outstanding graduates and leaders who are helping to make America strong, then it’s worth having (Jost)”. HBCUs have been producing graduates who leave better educated than when they started, but in comparison PWIs potentially offer better benefits. You may ask why. It’s because these institutions have an abundance of resources to offer students. The budget per student at a PWI far exceeds that of any budget at an HBCU. Let’s take a look at a study putting this claim to the test.
In this particular study conducted on state funding per student in North Carolina, the funding of UNC-Chapel Hill (PWI), North Carolina A&T (HBCU), and North Carolina Central University (HBCU) were reviewed. The findings showed that UNC budgeted $27,826, A&T $10,400 and NCCU $13,378 per student. The larger size of PWIs means that more money is available for student programs and activities. PWIs provide opportunities in a more mainstream environment and thus more realistically mirror the real world. After four years of study at a PWI, students have the confidence and are prepared to enter the real world as contributing members.
This may be a very broad and generalized claim, but there is documented evidence to back it up. Using black female students as an example, journal article (what journal article??? ) stated the benefits for this group. It read, “These articulate, interpersonally adept women gained more from the academic experience on White campuses (Allen, W. R. ). ” Not every African American that enters a PWI will be able to succeed. Although the campus itself may be conducive to their success based on the many advantages existing there, other challenges may interfere with that success.
Socially, these students may face difficulties as they strive to fit in and belong: “Students who successfully adapt, establish social relationships with Whites, adjust to Black-White cultural differences, and cope with college academic requirements that are more demanding than those faced in high school (Allen, W. R. ). ” Black students may face academic competition with White students who may have had stronger educational environments in which to prepare for college. Access to advanced placement classes and honors programs in high school can put Whites at an advantage when it comes time to enter college.
Blacks sometimes miss opportunities in high school due to lack of funds, location of programs and inability to keep with the competition. It seems that White institutions have higher expectations of their students, which makes students work harder. HBCUs, on the other hand, reportedly are not always as competitive as their white counterparts, which may result in their students not striving as hard, leading to poorer grades. PWIs also seem to enjoy a higher public profile. Many of them boast national rankings of school programs and faculty, nationwide success of athletic teams, and immediate name recognition.
Based on the resources alone these schools receive more public attention. In Comparing HBCUs and PWIs the resources and opportunities that PWIs offer trump HBCUs. The quality of the teaching at PWIs and the degrees and level of education that their professors received are usually better than that of HBCUs. The facilities also differ. Laboratories and libraries all seem to be of better quality at PWIs than at HBCUs. Different individuals have different ideas of what is most important when looking for the perfect match in a school.
When selecting a school it is important to make sure that your major is offered, and that if you decide to do so you could stay on for graduate school. All factors play a role in attracting students. It is important to be concerned with the “qualities and characteristics of institutions that support and encourage student success (college in Black and White). ” PWIs seem to offer the best overall benefits, however both types of institutions could potentially offer a student a solid education. PWIs have been around much longer than HBCUs. This gives these schools a definite advantage.
However that has not stopped HBCUs from making a name for themselves and building solid educational reputations. Many have beautiful campuses, a strong sense of community, and histories that bring pride to alumni and current students. Although they may not have the abundance of resources found at many PWIs, they have many other attributes that will attract students to their campuses. For example, at the University of Maryland, resources are immediately evident when you drive to the campus and see the vast acreage of land that it sits on. Just up the road at Howard University, you will find a much smaller campus with much less land.
But, you cannot judge a book by its cover. On closer inspection, you will find that Howard has the same desire to provide a good education for its students as the University of Maryland does. Though the results may be different based on resources, the goals are the same. It is just as important to HBCUs to graduate well educated students as it is to PWIs. The main goal of students entering college is to complete the requirements and to graduate. For some, that is easier said than done. The number of African American students graduating from college is lower than Whites, but steadily increasing.
Morehouse College in the past graduated the highest number of African American students but recently moved down the list (Sykes). Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Stanford and Columbia all rank in the top ten when it comes to graduating the most African American students (Black Enterprise). According to the U. S. News and World Report, the University of Maryland has increased its ranking in graduating the most African Americans students (UM). This proves that it is possible for African Americans to receive a good education at a predominately white institution.
In attempting to learn about the benefits of HBCUs, it is necessary to examine the opportunities that are available to students on campus. Many of the students who enrolled there felt that the environment offered many academic, cultural, and social programs focused on the “Black” experience. Carter G. Woodson said, “African Americans would never enter fully into the economic, political, and social institutions of American unless they received an education befitting to their peculiar situation” (Davis) Woodson apparently believed that African Americans students would excel in an environment that was conducive to their specific situation.
In other words it was important for them to be in a comfortable and familiar environment and would feel a sense of pride in having so many academicians who look like them in the classroom. A study from Gregory Stewart states that, “Students who attend HBCUs benefit from increased levels of engagement with peers, and diverse faculty. As part of the majority on campus, students at HBCUs do not have to worry about assimilating in addition to other collegiate pressures” (Stewart).
Many prominent African American scholars and educators believe that Black students are empowered by being around other gifted and talented students like them at HBCUs. These institutions continue to prove why they were put in place decades ago. They were founded to provide an educational option to students whose backgrounds aligned with the mission and goals of these institutions. They would provide an educational option that would benefit not just the student, but the wider black community as well. It has been proven that HBCUs not only enroll the highest number of African American students but also graduate the most.
To this day, “HBCUs remain the institutions that demonstrate the most effective ability to graduate African American students who are poised to be competitive in the corporate, research, academic, governmental, and military areas (Stewart). ” So an HBCU can provide a good education to any student, but it’s possible that PWIs provide a better education – in terms of the long term benefit to the student for the rest of their life. Throughout this paper, the differences between predominately white institutions and historically black colleges and universities have been discussed.
The pros and cons have been stated for both and it would seem that the advantages offered at PWIs seem to outnumber those offered at HBCUs. PWIs offer an endless amount of opportunities and resources, from the wide range of majors to the amount of money allotted for each student. I do not mean to suggest that HBCUs do not offer some of these same opportunities but PWIs offer them in greater abundance. PWIs oftentimes have larger endowments which allow them to offer a more attractive package to new students. More financial resources make them better able to provide the best possible education for their students.
Ultimately, it is for this reason that many will decide that attending a PWI will provide a better education and more opportunities than HBCUs. I reached a decision after researching both types of institutions and reviewing information on each and listening to tips from adults and peers. The decision would side with the institution that would yield the best opportunities and the many factors which were considered were revealed. Based heavily on which type of school would have the greatest impact on my life, I determined that a predominately white institution would be best for someone in my position to further my educational ambitions.
The decision comes down to which institution I believe would work best for me. The school that would better prepare me for my place in the wider society, and excel in the real world is the natural choice. Works Cited Allen, W. (1987). Black colleges vs. White Colleges: The fork in the road for Black Students. Change 19(3):28-31, 34 Davis, Henry Vance. “Into the Academy: The Black Intellectual and White Influence. ” Black Scholar 32. 2 (Summer2002 2002): 28. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. McKeldin Library. College Park, MD 23 Oct. 2009 http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? irect=true&db=aph&AN=7846882&loginpage=Login. asp&site=ehost-live Jost, Kenneth. “Black Colleges. ” CQ Researcher 13. 43 (2003): 1045-1068 CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. McKeldin Library, College Park, MD. 23 Oct. 2009 http://library. cqpress. com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2003121200 Stewart, Gregory. , Wright, Dianne. , Perry, Tawan, and Rankin, Charlisha. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Caretakers of Precious. ” Journal of College Admission (2008): 24-29 Sykes, Tanisha A. “50 Top Colleges for African Americans” Black Enterprise. 1 September 2006 UM Newsdesk. University of Maryland. 27 October 2009 http://www. newsdesk. umd. edu/facts/2008rank. cfm Bibliography Allen, W. (1987). Black colleges vs. White Colleges: The fork in the road for Black Students. Change 19(3):28-31, 34 Allen, W. R. “The Color of Success African American College Students Outcomes at Predominately White and Historically Black Public Colleges and Universities”. Harvard Educational Review. (February 1992): 26 Davis, Henry Vance. “Into the Academy: The Black Intellectual and White Influence. ” Black Scholar 32. 2 (Summer2002 2002): 28. Academic Search Premier.
EBSCO. McKeldin Library. College Park, MD 23 Oct. 2009 http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true&db=aph&AN=7846882&loginpage=Login. asp&site=ehost-live Ehrenburg, R. G. , and Rothstein, D. S. (1993). Do Historically Black Institutions of Higher Education Confer Unique Advantages on Black Students: As Initial Analysis. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA. Evans, Stephanie Y. “The Early Black History Movement, Carter G. Woodson, and Lorenzo Johnston Greene. ” Journal of American History 95. 1 (June 2008): 234-235. Academic Search Premier.
EBSCO. Grandison, Kendrick Ian. “Negotiated Space: The Black college campus as a cultural record of postbellum America. ” American Quarterly 51. 3 (Sep. 1999): 529. Academic Search Premier. Jost, Kenneth. “Black Colleges. ” CQ Researcher 13. 43 (2003): 1045-1068 CQ Researcher Online. CQ Press. McKeldin Library, College Park, MD. 23 Oct. 2009 http://library. cqpress. com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2003121200 Mikyong Minsun Kim and Clifton F. Conrad. “THE IMPACT OF HISTORICALLY BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ON THE ACADEMIC SUCCESS OF AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDENTS. Research in Higher Education 47. 4 (June 2006): 399-427. Academic Search Premier Kim, Mikyoung Minsum. Degree Completion Among African Americans:Does Attending Historically Black versus White Colleges Matter? Essay. Washington DC, 2005. Minor, James T. “A Contemporary Perspective on the Role of Public HBCUs: Perspicacity from Mississippi. ” Journal of Negro Education 77. 4 (Fall 2008 2008): 323-335. Academic Search Premier. Peterson, R. Darrell, Hamrick, Florence. “White, Male, and Minority”: Racial Consciousness Among White Male Undergraduates Attending a Historically Black University. Journal of Higher Education Jan/Feb 2009. 25 October 2009. Academic Search Premier. Stewart, Gregory. , Wright, Dianne. , Perry, Tawan, and Rankin, Charlisha. “Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Caretakers of Precious. ” Journal of College Admission (2008): 24-29 Sykes, Tanisha A. “50 Top Colleges for African Americans” Black Enterprise. 1 September 2006 Townes, Glenn. “HBCUs can become technology hubs, says president of Morehouse. ” New York Amsterdam News 97. 20 (11 May 2006): 36-36. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO.