A new report shows that a serious gulf still exists in Texas between funding for flagship state universities and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Ashley Williams with the nonprofit center for public policy priorities talked with KERA's Justin Martin about how this funding gap affects students.
There's A $2,500 Per Student Funding Gap
In this report I studied two public HBCUs: Prairie View A&M University and Texas Southern University, and two public flagship universities: University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M university. I found that it's about $2,500 less per student at the HBCUs that were studied.
The report moreover, highlights that the public HBCUs studied serve incredibly diverse populations and student bodies with significantly higher levels of financial need. I also found that the HBCUs studied invested much greater percentages of their total funds in student services and scholarships.
So, while these HBCUs are doing a lot to serve diverse populations and are investing in students, they're not getting the support they need.
Why Does The Gap Exist?
It's important to note that the Texas higher education system as a whole is underfunded, for many years, but especially since 2001, state lawmakers have been slowly investing less and less in higher education as a whole.
We've seen a systemic shift in the funding of higher education from the state onto the backs of Texas students and families.
Why certain institutions receive less funding than others is not fully explained, but it is important going forward that our lawmakers make targeted investments in institutions that are doing great work for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds.
How This Affects Lower Income Students
HBCUs, particularly [those] studied here, do an amazing job serving diverse populations of student bodies. And as it's mentioned in this report, these student bodies have significantly higher levels of financial needs. So without equitable levels of financial support, receiving $2,500 less per student — there's less money for books, for housing, for support for transportation.
Ultimately, students aren't able or given the same level of resources to have the same level of success that is given at other schools.