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HBCU Graduate Earnings Study Released

“If you want a great job out of college, go to a predominately white institution.” Contrary to this common misconception, the statistics suggest something totally different.  A recent study done by researchers at Virginia Tech found that African-American men who earn degrees from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) go on to receive higher lifetime earnings than those who attend predominately white institutions (PWI).

“I think that this study goes to show that you can receive a great education and excellent social life at a black college.  Hopefully this study will help eliminate those negative stereotypes that come with attending one,” said Stephanie Henderson, a senior English major from Monmouth County, N.J.

The study, “The Wage Earnings Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” found that initially African-American males have no advantage upon attending an HBCU but their wages increase from 1.4 percent to 1.6 percent faster per year than those who attend other universities.

Led by Dr. Bradford F. Mills, a team of researchers examined data from various points in time on the financial stability of men and women from 1979 and 2004.

“One reason for those results is because HBCUs have a larger concentration of talented students across a wide range of majors. It is easier for companies to find the students they need for a wide range of positions,” said Joshua Crenchaw, a senior electrical engineering major from Atlanta.

Studies on this topic in recent years have yielded different results.  A 1994 study found that HBCU graduates had 12 percent wages loss compared to those who graduated from other institutions.  A year later, a study concluded that graduates from HBCUs earned 38 percent more than those at other schools.

“At the end of the day, you really can’t be confused by the numbers.  This is a statistic that probably changes from year to year.  I’m happy people are finally starting to see the positive coming from HBCUs,” said Marcus Winston, a senior marketing major from Richmond, Va.

 Many HBCU graduates go on to attend predominately white schools for graduate school.  Although many feel comfortable in their new surrounding, some feel that they are being closely monitored.

“I think the biggest difference would be my level of racial consciousness.  In a mostly white environment, I am more aware of my actions as an African American, whereas at Hampton, I didn’t feel as much pressure to be a representative,” said Curtis Johnson, an HU alumnus who majored in broadcast journalism and is now a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University.

-Justin Tinsley