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Take it to the bank. America’s black colleges and universities inject billions of dollars into the U.S. economy.

According to a new study by the United Negro College Fund, the impact of historically black college and university dollars includes a HUGE amount of $15 billion each year.

Every year.

Offering data by institution, the United Negro College Fund study – underwritten by Citi Foundation and prepared by University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth – reports that black colleges and universities increase wealth exponentially across the United States.

For example:

  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) spending is $14.8 billion annually; equivalent to the top 200 corporations on the Fortune 500 list.
  • Every dollar spent by an HBCU and its students generates $1.44 for the institution’s economies in southern communities where overall economic growth has lagged.
  • HBCUs prepare a critical sector of the workforce to fill the economy’s demand for college-educated workers.
  • HBCUs generate  134,000 jobs for their local and regional economies.
  • HBCU graduates, over 50,000 in 2014, can expect work-life earnings of $130 billion

“This study is conclusive evidence that HBCUs not only provide a college education for 300,000 students every year, but they are a powerful economic engine through the jobs they create, the expenditures they make in the cities where they are located, and through the students they educate and prepare for an information-age workforce,” said United Negro College Fund president and CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax.

The first of its kind, “HBCUs Make America Strong” shows that money spent in, around, and by historically black colleges and universities and their students drives economic growth —and the effect of that spending is multiplied.

Each dollar spent creates far more than a dollar’s worth of productive activity as it moves through the economy.

“The future economic competitiveness of our nation hinges on the positive economic outcomes of our young people,” said Brandee McHale, president, Citi Foundation.

“HBCUs are developing our next generation of business and civic leaders. These impactful institutions have long contributed to the fabric of our nation and continue to fuel economic progress, which has a profound ripple effect on the strength of our families, communities, and businesses.”

Historically black colleges and universities in America have long been bastions of academic achievement.

They make up 3 percent of America’s public and private nonprofit colleges that receive federal student aid, but enroll 10 percent of African American undergraduates, award 17 percent of African American bachelor’s degrees and award 24 percent of African American STEM bachelor’s degrees.

“The education that HBCUs provide to their students, many of them from low-income families and the first in their families to attend college, helps the national economy fill critical jobs with college-educated workers who otherwise would not acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to compete in the evolving workforce,” said UNCF’s Vice President of Research and Member Engagement Dr. Brian Bridges.

Today, UNCF supports more than 60,000 students at over 1,100 colleges and universities across the country.


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