“That type of data can be hard to get. No one can make any conclusion about whether or not that still holds,” he said, adding you could possibly get at the same conclusion, “But it takes awhile to update the existing database. No one can produce a guess right now.”
However, it may be safe to say success is relative and individualistic. Jones’ experience at FAMU is a good example. She said she never felt success meant being a vice president by the age of 30 and making six figures.
Steven Martin’s experience is also a good example. A 2011 graduate of Belmont University, Martin also considers himself to be successful. An accounting major, he chose to attend Belmont because of their 100 percent job placement rate.
“By attending this school I would end up with a job by the time I graduated. By my sophomore year I landed a prestigious internship that led to a job offer by the time of my graduation,” he said. He deferred that offer for a year to get his Masters in Accounting from Belmont, which he will complete by the end of 2012. “By being a student here at Belmont, I had an edge.”
And in the process, he realized that he is not as passionate about accounting as he once thought he was. He is now more interested in helping others. An employee in Belmont’s Office of Admissions, he has realized that he has always had a secret passion for people.
“I like to help other people to find their passions. One of my ways of doing that is sort of a paying it forward type of experience,” he said, “Working for Belmont to help others reach their personal success is part of my mission now.”
He admits he is still figuring out his long-term goals, but he is clear he is heading down the path of a career in higher education, he said. “Who knows, 25 years from now I may be working as a Vice President or Chief of Staff.”
Jones will always sing her praises of HBCUs.
“I chose to go to an HBCU and it was an amazing experience,” she said. “Your education is what you make of it. I am pretty confident in HBCUs. I wear it proudly.”
At the end of the day, Price believes their study is an important one. It makes HBCUs more reliable in the eyes and hearts of parents, tax payers and even philanthropists
“Our society invests a large amount of resources to educate – both black and white. People want to know if they are getting a better return on their investment sending their students to schools like Albany, West Georgia, or to an HBCU,” he said. “Should they give their money to Spelman or Emory? Which is the bigger return on your dollar? That is why this study is important. What is the best use of our resources?”
Follow Mashaun D. Simon on Twitter at @memadosi