A sign to the entrance on the Texas Southern University campus, Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022 in Houston. (Photo by Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle via Getty Images)

What will it take for HBCUs to be better funded?

Courtesy of Florida A&M University

Florida A&M University, Central State University, Clark Atlanta University, and many more public historically Black colleges and universities are on the list. These HBCUs have been sound for many years, but the question remains as to why they are funded less than the predominately white institutions in their states.

According to marketplace.org, HBCUs are chronically underfunded, due largely to state underinvestment, lower alumni contributions, and lower Black incomes and wealth. So those endowments reflect the loss of wealth in Black individuals, the research site reports.

Many public HBCUs are funded less than their PWI counterparts, as some say. An example would be comparing Florida A&M University and Florida State University, separated only by railroad tracks — and millions of state dollars.

According to famu.edu, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University requests $40.5 million in recurring funding for strategic investments to support the implementation of the university’s five-year strategic plan – Boldly Striking.

Meanwhile, Florida State, according to news.fsu.edu, will receive about $109 million in new recurring operational support along with new funding for several capital projects from the Florida Legislature in the upcoming fiscal year, “allowing FSU to further its mission as one of the top public universities in the nation.”

Other HBCUs are dealing with the same issue. Central State University, a public HBCU in Wilberforce, Ohio, which, according to wvxu.org, enrolls around 5,400 students, has a current operating budget of $65 million.

Britney Denton, a first-year doctor of pharmacy candidate at FAMU from Memphis, Tennessee talked about where the money for HBCUs is being spent.

“I would say that the money goes more in favor of athletics than to academics and the needs of the campus community as a whole,” Denton said.

Athletics at most colleges are very popular and important to that college. These athletic programs also take in much of the school’s funding, since they are a part of the college experience.

Raimah Sterling, a fourth-year broadcast journalism student from Miami, believes that HBCU presidents need to make the case for more funding for their schools.

“Yes, if they fight for it and show that HBCUs need it, but everything is a racial issue,” Sterling said. “The government does not like HBCUs. We see with laws banning our history and with the clear evidence that we need help, they just do not care.”

Overall, HBCUs have been underfunded historically and it is a possibility that this can change with the right guidance.