Short-Term Increase in White Enrollments at Black Colleges, But the Long-Term Trend Is Down

In recent years a large number of state-operated historically black colleges and universities have boosted their enrollments of white students. In fact, according to JBHE research, over the 2000-2005 period the percentage of white students has increased at 25 of the 30 state-operated HBCUs in our survey. Before the reader jumps to the conclusion that a remarkable new trend in racial integration is occurring, we note that at two thirds of these institutions the white percentage of the student body has actually decreased since 1990.

For example, Tennessee State University showed an increase in white enrollments from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 16.5 percent in 2005. But in both 1980 and 1990 the white percentage of total enrollments at Tennessee State was higher than was the case in 2005. At Lincoln University in Missouri, whites now make up more than one half of all enrollments. There has been a 4 percentage point increase in white enrollments since 2000. But in 1990 whites were more than 60 percent of the student body at Lincoln University.

To this day many of the black universities in our survey have very few whites. In fact, 11 of the 30 state-operated black colleges and universities have white enrollments below 3 percent. A majority of the universities have white enrollments below 4 percent.