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Majority of HBCUs’ Graduates Earn Middle-Class Incomes [Report]

An increasing number of recent graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are experiencing upward mobility, a new report by the Rutgers University’s Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI) has found.

About 70 percent of graduates from HBCUs end up earning middle-class incomes, which is a greater percentage than that for Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). Overall, the upward mobility is nearly 50 percent higher at HBCUs than PWIs.

The findings were mentioned in the report titled “Moving Upward and Onward: Income Mobility at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” HBCUs were found enrolling more low-income students than PWIs, and two-thirds of them ended up in at least the middle class.

“This report’s focus on the student success rate distinguishes it from other research on HBCU economic mobility,” Robert Nathenson, the report’s lead author said.

“By examining students’ mobility after accounting for their origins, this report provides a more holistic understanding of economic mobility and more accurately describes the mobility trajectory of students at an HBCU.”

Researchers mostly credited HBCUs like Xavier University of Louisiana, Dillard University, and Tuskegee University for having a consistent record of ensuring the upward mobility of its students.

HBCUs like Howard University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College push nearly 35 percent of their low-income students into the top fifth of income earners.

“This report builds upon many researchers’ earlier work about HBCUs and their economic impact,” said Marybeth Gasman, one of the report’s authors.

“HBCUs are doing a tremendous job fostering pathways to upward mobility, particularly for low-income students, and they are doing this with often limited resources.”

Earlier reports have praised HBCUs for their enrollment, degree and economic impacts on African American populations within their respective states. HBCUs across 21 southern states and territories enroll 24 percent of black undergraduates and award 26 percent of all bachelor’s degrees to black students.

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