The Persisting Myth That the Black Colleges Are Becoming Whiter

An article in Mother Jones magazine this past summer asked, "Are Whites Taking Over Black Colleges?" JBHE notes that nothing could be further from the truth.

The notion that whites are taking over black colleges comes about from the fact that two historically black institutions — Bluefield State University in West Virginia and West Virginia State University — are now more than 80 percent white. Another historically black educational institution — Lincoln University in Missouri — also has a student body in which whites are a majority.

But these schools are the exception, not the rule. Data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that whites make up 11.9 percent of all students at the nation’s historically black colleges and universities. A decade ago, whites were 12.7 percent of the total enrollments at the black colleges. So the truth of the matter is that the black colleges are becoming less white, not whiter.