As noted in recent entries on this blog, all but the wealthiest U.S. colleges and universities are now facing existential threats from the prolonged financial aftermath of the Great Recession and from the sudden emergence of powerful, disruptive technologies that raise fundamental challenges to traditional teaching methods.
Fifty years ago, HBCUs enrolled over 90 percent of the nation's black college students; today their enrollments are closer to 9 percent. And total black enrollments at the 105 HBCUs declined in the last ten years from over 300,000 down to 275,000. As the least wealthy segment of U.S. higher education, the HBCU community is the most vulnerable to these powerful financial and technological forces, forces that are likely to greatly accelerate downward enrollments trends in the coming years. We should therefore be particularly concerned by all of the decisions rendered by the SACS Commission on Colleges that affect the accreditation status of southern HBCUs, including warnings and probations.
According to a report in Inside Higher Education (Headline-Driven Accreditation, 12/12/12/) SACS recently made the following changes in the status of eight HBCUs:
- Removed from "warning"
++ Edward Waters College (FL)
++ Fort Valley State University (GA)
++ Grambling State University (LA)
++ Virginia Union University (VA)
- Placed on probation
-- Florida A&M University (FL)
-- Fisk University (TN)
-- Jarvis Christian College (TX)
-- Southern University and A&M College at Baton Rouge (LA)