Some students and officials believe that Historically Black Colleges and Universities have a negative reputation for frequent financial problems.
Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor said a lack of large donations is a big issue.
“[HBCUs] don’t have the surplus assets or the foundation support to generate the excess money,” Proctor said. “Other intuitions have major endowments. When you have a big endowment, you can cover up. The HBCU can’t afford mistakes and error.”
The current U.S. economic challenges have also adversely affected HBCUs.
Under the College Cost Reduction Act, aid awarded to education institutions, also known as Title III, $451.7 million has been requested for the 2009 fiscal year to minority institutions. This is $119.7 million less than the 2008 year.
HBCUs like Morris Brown University, Texas Southern University, Alabama A&M University, FAMU and most recently South Carolina State University have all had recent financial problems.
According to an article in the Clark Atlanta University’s Panther titled “Financial Crisis Rocks Clark Atlanta Campus,” there will be a budget cut for CAU due to a decrease in enrollment this semester as a result of the bad economy.
SCSU is also facing financial issues and was given a warning by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, for failure to comply with the commission’s core requirements, according to The Collegian newspaper.
Alana Lewis, 21, a senior psychology student at FAMU, said HBCUs tend to have so many financial problems because the government doesn’t fund them enough.
“I think that the government doesn’tparticipate enough to fund HBCUs,” said Lewis, from Augusta, Ga. “As a government they should put aside more money for HBCUs.”
Lewis also said the government should put education on its priority list instead of some of the other things that they fund.
“They have a plan to build more prisons in Florida, [but] instead, they need to focus on HBCUs,” Lewis said. “The government is being unwise with their money. Prisons are built for uneducated people and if the government spends money to educate citizens then society would benefit.”
While Lewis said he believes the government needs to provide more money to HBCUs, Shabraa Frazier, 20, a freshman political science student, said HBCUs need better structure in order to get more funding from the government.
“I think they need to be more organized to get more money,” said Frazier, a Jacksonville native. “If they don’t know what’s going on with their money than they can’t get more money. They’re unorganized because half the money they spend, they don’t know where the money goes.”
Frazier said he attended a student Senate meeting at FAMU last week and no one in the Student Government Association knew where funds for the sponsored President Barack Obama Inauguration trip to Washington D.C. came from.
Some students said it’s their peer’s fault that HBCUs have financial issues.
Ashley Shorter, 22, a criminal justice student, said that non-HBCUs get more support from the government and others because their standards of admission are higher, HBCUs must raise their standards.
“They need to increase SAT, GPA to have a more disciplined school then the state will want to invest in our institutions because they are seeing more educated and accomplished students” students are coming to these schools,” Shorter said. “A lot of us are not working together to get the job done.”