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The HBCU Endowment Feature – Alabama State University

School Name: Alabama State University

Median Cost of Attendance: $16 604

Undergraduate Population: 4 743

Endowment Needed: $1 575 055 360

Analysis: Alabama State University needs approximately $1.5 billion for all of its undergraduate students to attend school debt free annually. The school is in direct competition with the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa. A major advantage point that Alabama State University has is its geographic location in the state’s capital of Montgomery. Being near the political center of a state allows for the engaging of the lawmakers who determine state allocation of funds to the public institutions of higher education. The city’s African American population is approximately 76 000 but with the state’s overall high graduation rate at 69 percent, below the national average of 75 percent, it is not hard to imagine that the African American high school graduation rate is even more abysmal. According to the recent Schott Report the African American male high school graduation rate in Alabama is 42 percent so finding the raw numbers to increase enrollment is going to be a challenge for a state school which tend to be more heavily dependent on in-state students. However, once again being in the state capital which tend to have a strong economic presence presents an opportunity for the school to create a web of opportunities. HBCUs in the deep south face a myriad of social hurdles but especially in a state like Alabama where the University of Alabama is as beloved by the African American community despite an almost negligible presence at the university itself beyond athletics and janitors. It is a social hurdle Alabama State University must shift in order to create the demographic increase needed to be competitive in the long-term that would generate the kinds of donations needed to build a sound endowment.

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.