The HBCU Endowment Feature – Spelman College


Spelman_College_logo

School Name: Spelman College

Median Cost of Attendance: $39 629

Undergraduate Population: 2 170

Endowment Needed: $1 719 898 560

Analysis: Spelman College needs approximately $1.7 billion for all of its undergraduates to attend debt free annually. Spelman College is the number 2 HBCU endowment behind Howard University and closing fast. Its current endowment is actually almost 18 percent of its needed endowment which leads the top endowments. Thanks to its Rockefeller heritage the school continues to be well connected to money outside of the African American community which allows for a faster pace of fundraising. This has its pros and cons of influence within any institution. Demographics are also in Spelman’s favor as African American women have a lower unemployment rate. African American women and men have the smallest gap in income disparity of any group. This is both good and bad since African America as a whole only makes 65 percent of what their European American counterparts make. The college’s recent disbanding of its athletic program should be an interesting dynamic to watch. With a healthy overall student body in the long term it could mean alumni who live longer which leads to larger financial estates, smaller medical bills, and more discretionary finances for donating back to the school. It could truly be the decision that propels Spelman to the number one spot in the coming decades. Yet, Spelman is not without its own headwinds. There are some possible questionable investments within the endowment by way of its investment committee chair that could derail the college if a clear conflict of interest policy is not show to be governing the committee’s decisions. Aside from that potential problem ( it should not be understated however how big of a problem it could become) Spelman is poised to make a serious run at becoming the first billion dollar HBCU endowment and nobody should bet against them (well except Howard).

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