School Name: Howard University
Median Cost of Attendance: $41 483
Undergraduate Population: 7 164
Endowment Needed: $5 943 684 160
Analysis: Howard University needs approximately $6 billion for all of its students to attend debt free annually. Howard University is in pole position to become the first HBCU to reach the billion dollar mark. The school has historically had a very dedicated alumni base that has translated into consistent giving which for compound interest reasons can be more important than inconsistently larger donations. The only full service HBCU with both a law and medical school, it has at its disposal a higher income bracket of graduate school alumni than all other HBCUs. This provides a significant advantage in its fundraising. It does not hurt that the school is located in the nation’s capital where many federal funding decisions are made. Washington D.C. also being the home of one of the strongest African American populations in terms of social, economic, and political capital. One mistake that could be made by its alumni and university however is being content. Spelman and Hampton are closing the gap rapidly and on the more macro scale Harvard is widening the institutional gap between African America and European America’s top universities. Resting on its laurels could be fatal especially as Howard continues to be one of the most expensive colleges, HBCU or not, in the country. Howard, not becoming dependent on the tuition revenue that its higher cost of attendance brings is vital to keep in the forefront of the development office. Making families and communities feel good about the investment they are making and reducing the burden should be at the forefront of their alumni so the school can continue to recruit the cream of the crop in academic talent which translates into wealthier alumni on average. Ultimately, it is hard not to see Howard University becoming the first HBCU to achieve a billion dollar endowment with its healthy dose of donations and consistently high investment returns. It appears inevitable with the only thing that can get in its away is itself, but the competition to a billion will be fierce make no mistake about it.
As always it should be noted that endowments provide a myriad of subsidies to the university for everything from scholarship, faculty & administration salaries, research, and much more.