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Propelling Black progress and producing Black leaders for generations, HBCUs remain a relevant option for Black students. A new study of 10 HBCUs shows their Black graduates end up earning higher salaries than Black grads from other universities in their states.

A recent independent study by OnlineU, using publicly available data from the Equitable Value Explorer, compared the salaries for HBCU grads with the salaries for other Black grads in the state with a similar education. 

The study looked at data from Xavier University of Louisiana; Spelman College: Hampton University; Morehouse College; Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University; Tennessee State University; Fisk University; Tuskegee University; Alcorn State University and Dillard University.

According to the study, Xavier University ranks No. 1 for higher payoffs. For instance, the median salary for a Black grad from Xavier U sits at $52,582 compared to $36,962 for Black grads from other universities in Louisiana. The $15,000 difference illustrates the immense financial impact HBCUs have on Black grads.

“We wanted to compare earnings to other Black graduates within the same state, as both race and location play a role in earnings,” researcher Taylor Nichols told The Black Wall Street Times. “This method allows us to get a better understanding of how attending an HBCU might impact future earnings for Black graduates, and helps students make informed decisions about their education.”

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HBCUs pack a financial punch for Black graduates

Notably, Spelman College, a women’s college, offers the second-highest economic return for students, with Black grads earning roughly $9,000 more than their non-HBCU counterparts.

“Comparing median earnings at HBCUs to other Black graduates in the state helps to highlight the value each college provides to the communities they serve, and also accounts for racial inequities in the labor market that negatively impact salaries for Black college graduates,” the study notes.

Unsurprisingly, the HBCUs with the highest payoffs for Black grads are located in the South. While the majority of African Americans live in the South, the region continues to have a lower living wage than other parts of the nation. Adding in racial disparities in employment, promotion and other areas of racial bias, HBCUs continue to prove essential for Black students in the U.S.

“Wages are typically lower” in states like Tennessee and Mississippi “compared to California or New York due to a lower cost of living, but average incomes in many of these states are still below the living wage, and the median for Black college grads in these states are often thousands of dollars below that average,” Nichols said.

Black excellence is in full supply

The study adds weight to the renewed interest in Historically Black Colleges and Universities. High-profile Black intelligentsia, such as New York Times journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones and author Ta-nehisi Coates have recently juked predominantly White institutions (PWIs) for the likes of Howard University in D.C. 

Jackson State University head coach Deion Sanders has propelled the star status of the Tigers to prime-time television, empowering more coverage of HBCU football games.

Meanwhile, the recent spate of bomb threats against HBCUs around the country serve as a reminder of backlash against Black progress.

“These perpetrators are attempting to send a message by disrupting Black colleges. But that message will be returned to sender in the sense that these Black schools will continue to do what they do, which is to promote Black excellence,” Crystal R. Sanders, an associate professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, told CNN earlier this year.

And with some HBCUs offering better payoffs for marginalized yet brilliant human beings, there’s no short supply of Black excellence.

To view the full OnlineU study, click here.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

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