School Name: Grambling State University
Median Cost of Attendance: $17 894
Undergraduate Population: 5 277
Endowment Needed: $1 888 532 800
Analysis: Grambling State University needs approximately a $1.9 billion endowment for all of its undergraduates to attend debt free annually. Grambling also affectionately known as “The House That Eddie Built” referring to Eddie Robinson, Sr. who was the legendary football coach that in many ways put Grambling State University on the map. There is no accurate source to know just what GSU’s current endowment is but it is safe to say by best guess estimates it is smaller than its in-state arch rival. A frightening prospect when one considers just the shape its arch rival is in although for different reasons. Grambling has one of the most loyal alumni in HBCU nation but it is not translating into consistent giving. There is some sense that Grambling has never quite had an academic niche. That it was prominently known for and at times seems to be in the jack of all trades and master of none box. This can work to their advantage if a strategy is developed around it, but right now it feels more like a ship at sea with no destination. It is geographically located in a great area to develop its graduate school. Located in the northern part of Louisiana, it has above average access to three states which it could heavily recruit in for graduate talent. It is there they could create higher quality donors. It faces a major obstacle in the politics of Louisiana seem intent on dismantling HBCUs. Primarily, this comes in the form of current governor Bobby Jindal and while Louisiana trails in almost every major educational category in the nation, the governor continues to find cuts. Particular those cuts are coming at the expense of African Americans. A joint political strategy between Grambling State University and Southern University to elect a governor that is more HBCU friendly could go a long way, but in order to do that each must first get its economic house in order. Demographics suggest that Grambling State University could be a $50 million endowment without blinking. Whether or not leadership can formulate a unique plan that entices the purse strings of its rabid alumni over the next 5-10 years remains to be seen. Grambling’s importance in northern Louisiana to the strategic development of HBCUs can not be understated. The eye of the tiger must find 20/20 focus or be endangered of going blind.
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.