One look at the make-up of any university campus and you’ll notice one thing: black men are scarce. Although this is almost to be expected at predominately white institutions, apparently black men are equally hard to come by at our nation’s HBCUs.
According to the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics, black women outnumber black men 3-to-2 at HBCUs. Moreover, at the 100 accredited black colleges and universities, 61.5% of the attendees are women.
So what’s behind the disparity? Experts say that black men have very few role models that inspire them to pursue education, face tougher financial odds, and are less prepared for college than their female counterparts. In addition, once they make it to college it takes black men longer to graduate from college and many drop out. Only 29% of black men graduate from HBCUs in six years as opposed to 33% at all colleges and universities (57% of people graduate within six years nationally).
Many schools and organizations are working to close the gender gap in higher education. Through outreach groups that target young black boys offering tutoring and mentorship, to companies and universities that offer funding to black male students going to college, many are hoping to inspire more young black men to pursue higher education.
While black women and girls face their own sets of difficulties, the odds facing black males are steadily growing, which is leaving a generation of young black men behind.