Built for us, by us, historically black colleges, have certainly had their share of struggles since their inception in the 1800s. It has only been recently that they have begun to get the recognition they deserve—as some of the liveliest campuses across America. But, while the pandemic has put a damper on a lot of things, HBCUs have managed to rise above the darkness. Let’s take a look back at some of the top HBCU moments of 2021 that showcase just how resilient, ambitious, and powerful HBCU students are.
#1: Homeless Teen Accepted to Over 50 Colleges, Chooses Spelman
Destiny Jackson’s story is the definition of an underdog tale. The Philadelphia teen overcame homelessness following an abusive foster care situation to go on to be accepted at 56 colleges across the United States. In spite of the odds working against her, Jackson’s resilience and hard work did not go unnoticed, and of the 56 colleges that accepted her, this ambitious young lady chose Spelman College, the #1 HBCU. Jackson is double-majoring in political science (pre-law) and communications at Spelman, and those interested in contributing to her college tuition and school expenses can find more information here.
#2: Grambling State Forgives $1.5M in Student Debt
In August, Grambling announced that students who attended GSU between Spring 2020 and Summer 2021 would have their student loans forgiven—to the tune of $1.5 million. To pull this off, the school plans to use funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, which is federal aid for coronavirus relief. Martin Lamelle, GSU Vice-President, has said that the plan aims to help give students access to h education while continuing to advance their economic mobility. There were a number of federal aid initiatives that launched as a result of the pandemic, but few that directly and intentionally benefitted black students, and for that GSU deserves a nod.
#3: NCAT Reaches Highest-Ever Student Enrollment Numbers
Back in September, North Carolina A&T State University announced that they had reached 13,322 students enrolled—the highest ever reported by the school. NCAT’s student population has been on a consistent growth track and remains the largest HBCU in the United States. The surge of freshmen from 2020 to 2021 was an increase of over 37 percent, which accounted for a significant percentage of the increased enrollment numbers. It deserves to be noted that NCAT doesn’t just have bodies, they’ve got the grades to boot; the average entering GPA is 3.7. NCAT has an enrollment goal of 14,000 students by the Fall 2023 semester, and on its current growth curve, it’s well on its way to meet that goal, or exceed it.
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