Because February is African-American History Month in the U.S., it seems an appropriate time to examine trends in the business schools of those institutions that have been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). HBCUs are institutions founded prior to 1964, with the express mission of serving African-American students. In terms of business education, HBCUs are collectively responsible for producing 21 percent of all business and management degrees earned by African-American students in the U.S.
Figure 1. Five-Year Enrollment Trends at HBCUs
As you can see, total enrollment at the HBCUs in our set has fallen steadily over the past five years, by nearly 20 percent overall. Interestingly, though, enrollment at the graduate level has actually grown by nearly 37 percent at these schools over the last five years, this despite the fact that the number and types of programs have remained fairly stable during this period. Apparently, the decline in enrollment overall is entirely due to declining undergraduate enrollment.
Enrollment is not the only thing declining at HBCU business schools, however.
Figure 2. Five-Year Faculty Trends at HBCUs
Although not as drastic as the reductions in enrollment, the total number of full-time (FT) faculty for the controlled set of HBCUs declined by 4.6 percent over the last five years, and the total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty declined by nearly 9 percent. In addition, for this same set of schools, the average annual operating budget also declined by 1.5 percent.
I should note here that the data presented in this post should not be construed as definitive for all 105 currently operating HBCUs in the U.S. Indeed, only 32 of them are members of AACSB International as of this writing (although another 10 schools are former members, and 15-20 percent of all HBCUs are ineligible for membership due to the lack of business programs at the bachelor level or higher). Nevertheless, we are certainly not the only ones to point out the various issues plaguing HBCUs in recent years. As an employee of an organization that cares about diversity as well as quality in higher education, I hope that a path can soon be found to renewed prosperity for these important institutions.