The 20 Year Review: 1994 & 2014 HBCU Endowments Then & Now


The 2014 HBCU Top 10 Endowments list is out. Going forward we will review where HBCUs are today and where they were 20 years ago. NACUBO’s list this year included 851 reporting institutions from the U.S. and Canada. So here are a few fast facts of then and now in regards to HBCUs place in the whole of the endowment conversation.

  • Of the 851 reporting institutions in 2014, only 1.7 percent were HBCUs. HBCUs comprise 3 percent of American colleges and universities. In 1993, Of the 446 reporting institutions in 1994, only 0.9 percent were HBCUs.
  • 20 years ago, the 4 HBCUs who were present on the list had a combined endowment value of $356 993 000 versus the top 4 HWCUs who had a combined endowment value of $17 726 252 000.
  • The endowment wealth gap between the top HWCUs/HBCUs in 2014 was 106:1. In 1994, it was 50:1.
  • In 1994, 17 HWCUs reported endowments over $1 billion and 2 HBCUs reported endowments over $100 million. In 2014, there were 92 HWCUs with reported endowments over $1 billion or an increase of 441 percent. HBCUs increased their ranks of $100 million endowments from 2 to 5 or an increase of 150 percent – unchanged from the 1993 to 2013 review.

The suspected widening in the HWCU/HBCU endowment gap was no surprise in this year’s endowment numbers. A combined factor of under market returns and major capital campaigns raising billions at HWCUs is only bolstering their endowment strongholds. While there is a great focus on the household wealth gap between African American households and other groups, very little attention remains paid to the institutional wealth gap that is often more reflective of a group’s health than any other. Meanwhile, just how many hundreds of millions or perhaps billions the Parent Plus Loan debacle by the US Department of Education ultimately will cost HBCU endowments long-term is immeasurable. This is especially true when 11 percent of HWCUs reporting in 2014 have over $1 billion plus in endowments. On the flip side, only 7 percent of HBCUs are over $100 million. The gap can be closed, but how? That has to be on the mind of every HBCU president, development office, and most importantly the alumni.

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