HBCU application rates have increased since 2020

Some HBCUs saw their applicant pools grow by upwards of 30% after 2020.

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Historically Black colleges and universities across the U.S. have seen a significant uptick in applications since the police killing of George Floyd placed a spotlight on systemic racism in 2020. 

Supporting HBCUs has been one of the ways public figures, businesses and advocacy groups have worked to address racial inequities that have been at the center of national discourse in the nearly three years since Floyd’s death, USA Today reported.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 25: An entrance sign near the main gate at Howard University October 25, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Some HBCUs saw their applicant pools grow by upwards of 30% after 2020. Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia saw a 60% jump in applicants in 2020, according to aggregated data from Date USA.

Spelman College, also in Atlanta, received about 4,000 applications in 2014. In 2021, the HBCU for women had 11,000 applicants.

Skylar Mooyoung, a senior at Howard University, told USA Today that the success of high-profile alumni such as Vice President Kamala Harris is contributing to the added attention HBCUs are getting.

“With Kamala Harris being the vice president of the United States, people want to go to HBCUs more,” she told the outlet. “Not that I was ever trying to justify why I went to an HBCU, but I don’t have to anymore because everyone knows that (Howard) is her alma mater.”

HBCUs and their students have also been on the receiving end of investments from celebrities such as Serena Williams and Michael B. Jordan. The tennis superstar and actor partnered in 2021 to raise a $1 million award for an HBCU student to launch their business, as reported by the outlet. 

Philanthropists such as Mackenzie Scott in 2020 donated over $550 million to almost two dozen historically Black schools nationwide, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation has also recently invested $100 million into HBCUs, per USA Today.

HBCUs are also seeing increased support from major global companies such as Apple, which has invested $130 million and counting into its Racial Equity and Justice Initiative, aiding 45 historically Black schools with resources for computer science and creative expression, per the report.

Mooyoung, a second-generation Howard student who followed in the footsteps of her mother, Dr. Nichole Butler-Mooyoung, said that multiple Fortune 500 companies including JP Morgan Chase and Johnson & Johnson sponsored and recruited students on campus during her freshman year.

“We’re able to shadow them and learn about their different businesses,” Mooyoung said. “I feel like that is being publicized more and people are realizing that when these companies are looking for top Black talent, they are going to HBCUs, and that may have an impact on why people are sending their kids there.”

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