Tag Archives: HBCUs

Can YOU Run This Institution: Prairie View A&M Looks To Train Next Generation of HBCU Administrators


President George C. Wright has been an integral force in bringing Prairie View A&M University a new stadium, but his legacy may be in a new program that allows students at the HBCU just outside of Houston to shadow administrators for a day to learn what it truly takes to run, manage, and grow an HBCU. This is vital when looking across the landscape of HBCUs where far too many HBCUs are being run by non-HBCU alums. It is almost an indictment on HBCU boards that when choosing an administration that far too many candidates have little to no HBCU connection. The pipeline from which HBCUs can choose their leadership reflective of their strategic needs and cultural values is vital to the future of them remaining true to being institutions that serve African America’s interest in higher education.

Prairie View A&M’s program allows students to shadow administration for a day is vital for both exposure and mentorship. Engaging students in the experience is also is key to their ability to participate as alumni in understanding how they can both help externally or maybe one day as leadership themselves. If the program is nurtured it could become a program that trains not only students at Prairie View, but others as well. Such a simple step could have a meaningful and lasting impact on the future of our institutions. We decided to reach out to Antony Owens (pictured above center) who participated in the program to see the impact that is truly had.

Name: Antony Owens

Classification: Junior

Major: Architecture and Construction Science

What made you decide to participate in the program?

My organization, Panther Ambassadors hosts the Can YOU Run This Institution program, as a member of the organization I wanted to lead by example and participate in the program myself.

Who did you shadow and how was that determined?

I shadowed Dr. Thomas-Smith, generally students are given a list of the faculty that will be participating and are then able to choose whom they would like to shadow.

What was your takeaway from participating?

There is a lot of grunt work done by a few key people across the university. Dr. Thomas-Smith for instance has a lot to do with the university’s accreditation, she has to work with people across campus and all the different departments to acquire full accreditation for the university. To do her job would require a strong work ethic, patience, management skills and the ability to lead.

Are there things that you were surprised at learning that it takes to run the university?

I was taken back by the fact that even after one finishes college and is done with school, they may still have homework. It was a realization because I thought homework stopped after school, but in order to complete things in a timely and well done manner, one may have to sacrifice more time in order to meet expectations.

How do you think the participation in the program will help you as an alumnus even if you do not go on to become an administrator?

It has helped me mature and get a better picture of what the work life is like when you have nobody but yourself to truly hold you accountable.

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HBCU Money’s 2016 Top 10 HBCU Endowments


piggybank

2016 was a rough year for the world, it was even afforded a scary movie trailer, and top ten HBCU endowments were not spared the carnage. Eight out of the top ten HBCU endowments saw negative changes in their market value. The only two to be spared the rod were Meharry Medical College and rising supernova, University of Virgin Islands, who not only led all HBCUs in market value percentage increase, but was second among all American and Canadian institutions reporting in that category. Howard University continues to hold the number one spot and sheer inertia could carry it onto becoming the first billion dollar HBCU endowment. However, after being the star of the top ten last year, Howard finds itself the dog of the show this year with the worst market value percentage performance.

Since breaking into the top ten a few years ago, University of Virgin Islands continues its ascension up the ranks. It is clear they have the special sauce in the islands and if the winds continue in their favor, then the school in Nassau could give HBCUs its sixth endowment over $100 million in short order. Another notable endowment, Texas College with an endowment of only $3.2 million, did see the second highest market change percentage of HBCUs at 6.8 percent.

After a notable absence last year, Florida A&M University, has returned to the list and takes its place as HBCU nation’s fifth endowment over $100 million. This in comparison to 93 of the 799 HWCUs reporting with endowments over the $1 billion mark. Reminding us there is a long way to go before institutional economic equality is achieved.

As always, if you do not see your HBCU in the top 10 – DONATE!**

Endowment in millions $000 (Change in Market Value*)

1. Howard University – $685 775  (-8.5%)

2. Spelman College – $346 789 (-4.5%)

3.  Hampton University – $253 814 (-3.6%)

4.  Meharry Medical College – $142 703 (2.6%)

5. Florida A&M University – $113 117 (N/A)

6.  University of the Virgin Islands – $54 968 (60.4%)

7.  Tennessee State University – $50 246 (-2.3%)

8.  Texas Southern University – $48 163 (-1.1%)

9.  North Carolina A&T State University  – $48 074 (-0.1%)

10. . Virginia State University – $45 812 (-3.4%)

Take a look at how an endowment works. Not only scholarships to reduce the student debt burden but research, recruiting talented faculty & students, faculty salaries, and a host of other things can be paid for through a strong endowment. It ultimately is the lifeblood of a college or university to ensure its success generation after generation.

endowment-works-1

*Note: The change in market value does NOT represent the rate of return for the institution’s investments. Rather, the change in the market value of an endowment from FY2015 to FY2016 reflects the net impact of: 1) withdrawals to fund institutional operations and capital expenses; 2) the payment of endowment management and investment fees; 3) additions from donor gifts and other contributions; and 4) investment gains or losses.

** Notable exclusions to the list that HBCU Money believes would otherwise make the top ten are Morehouse College, Tuskegee University, and Dillard University. These HBCUs have never reported their endowment to NACUBO in the time HBCU Money has been recording its annual top ten endowments.

Additional Notes:
NACUBO Average Endowment – $640 737 (-2.9%)
NACUBO Median Endowment – $120 330 (-1.3%)
Top 10 HWCU Endowments combined – $182.5 billion
Source: National Association of College & University Business Officers

XULA FCU Growing, Virginia State University FCU In Crisis, And 2016 HBCU-Based Credit Unions Overall – Stagnant


Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree. – Martin Luther

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2016’s HBCU-based credit unions are stuck in neutral. Eleven HBCU-based credit unions assets are unchanged from 2015 and still stand at $87 million. Membership saw a decline from just over 17 000 in 2015 to 16 546 in 2016. For comparison, Navy Federal Credit Union, America’s largest credit union has $73.3 billion in assets and 5.9 million members.

  1. Southern Teachers & Parents (LA) – $28.3 million ($28 million)
  2. Florida A&M University (FL) – $20.1 million ($19.6 million)
  3. Howard University Employees (DC) – $10.8 million ($11.3 million)
  4. Virginia State University (VA) – $8.6 million ($9.6 million)
  5. Prairie View (TX) – $4.8 million ($4.8 million)
  6. Savastate Teachers (GA) – $3.7 million ($3.6 million)
  7. Councill (AL) – $3.4 million ($3.4 million)
  8. Xavier University (LA) – $2.6 million ($2.4 million)
  9. Arkansas A&M College (AR) – $2.4 million ($2.3 million)
  10. Tennessee State University (TN) – $1.6 million ($1.4 million)
  11. Shaw University (NC) – $0.6 million ($0.5 million)

HBCU-based credit unions while having almost $90 million in assets are too top heavy as a collective. The top four HBCU-based credit unions have almost 80 percent of the group’s combined assets. Unfortunately, the fourth member of the group, Virginia State University Federal Credit Union, is dragging down the collective. Over the past two years VSU FCU has seen its assets decline almost 20 percent. VSU FCU is in the process of a transition in leadership after the long-term CEO Peggy Custis stepped down after a multi-decade run. In her place, Katrina Peerman, is serving as interim CEO while the board looks to make a long-term decision. That long-term decision, whether it remains Ms. Peerman or an outside choice could have a rippling effect that impacts the group as a whole. Can HBCU-based credit unions come into the 21st century? It remains to be seen whether they possess the leadership or aggressive vision required to facilitate

HBCU Money’s 2015 review and analysis of HBCU-based credit unions remain unchanged:

Unfortunately, there also seems to be no urgency by these credit unions to do the things necessary to increase their membership and assets. Students entering into HBCUs today may be more financially illiterate than a generation ago, but they have more complex financial needs thanks in large part to student loans playing such a large role into today’s higher education finance. Not to mention the reduced role that social security will play in their long-term retirement planning. An issue that should be prompting more HBCU-based credit unions to find ways to help students reduce student loan debt and start retirement planning while in college. A hard task to give this group given the limited financial products and services they offer leave HBCU-based credit unions minute opportunity to serve the needs of students, faculty, campus organizations, or even the HBCUs themselves. These limited products and services are largely an issue of lacking scale. Instead of a credit union with at least $87 million in assets, the median is $3.6 million amongst eleven with declining assets and membership. Instead of students, faculty, and institutions who travel more today than ever to conferences, tournaments, etc. being able to access their money at one of the eleven branches or through mobile app banking along the way, they are limited to just one insular branch with technology that at best reminds you of AOL dial-up. Holding onto students is even more difficult with most returning to their hometowns or nearest major city upon graduation and only returning to the campus at most once a year for homecoming. Incentive to keep banking beyond graduation? None.

Lauryn Hill has a wonderful song called the Ex-Factor that I think often describes African America institutional strategic behavior and with HBCU-based credit unions it seems no different. “It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard. Loving you is like a battle and we both end up with scars.” I still believe with the right vision, an HBCU credit union could rival the Navy Federal Credit Union and give African America a place of financial safety instead of the scars we constantly end up with from predatory financial services that come into communities because we are left with such meager choices from our own financial institutions. It really all could be so simple, but more than likely we will continue to make it hard.

Good News/Bad News: Percentage Of HBCU Graduates With Debt Drops But Debt Loads Increase


Debt is the slavery of the free. – Publilius Syrus

hbcugradsdebt

A follow up to our internal study two years ago on HBCU student loan debt shows a “good news, bad news” situation for those graduating from HBCUs hallowed grounds. Slightly less are graduating with debt than two years ago, but those who are graduating with debt can expect those debt loads to be heavier. A troubling sign as wages stubbornly refuse to rise despite an arguably healthier overall economy in terms of employment. I say arguably because African America still remains the only group in this country experiencing double digit unemployment and largely dependent on employment from non-HBCU owned businesses. Add to the fact African American households earn 35 percent less than the national average and 50 percent less than Asian American households who have the highest household income in the nation; there will be a good deal of continued penny-pinching ahead for HBCU graduates. Although, one has to wonder at this point if we are not squeezing blood from a turnip as the old saying goes.

HBCUs served 99 percent of the African American population obtaining higher education prior to desegregation while today that number has dwindled to the neighborhood of 10 percent. This steady but precipitous decline over the past 60 years has had long-term impacts on HBCU endowments not least among them the probability of producing high quality donors and large alumni populations. The latter being integral since only an average 13 percent of America’s alumni donate. Wealth or lack thereof is also playing a role for African American families and the rising HBCU student loan debt. African American families have recovered mildly since the recession, but the median wealth gap between European/Asian and African American families is well over 20:1 as of 2012. Institutional wealth is also part of the spider web of student loan debt. The institutional wealth gap as a result of desegregation is even scarier with the top 50 endowments (all PWI/HWCUs) having a combined $330 billion versus 100 plus HBCUs with approximately $2-3 billion. All of these factors contribute to an ongoing burden by families, HBCUs, and HBCU support organizations to try and reduce student loan debt for HBCU graduates.

The results were paired against America’s 50 largest universities by endowment which surprisingly varied by geography, public and private status, and school size eerily similar to that of HBCUs. The Project on Student Debt reports in 2013 that 69 percent of all college graduates have student loan debt and the average debt of that graduate is $28 400. Both numbers are up from two years ago, when the figures were 66 percent and $26 600, respectively. The latter puts average debt rising almost 7 percent in the past two years.

The number in parentheses shows the comparative results from the universities of the 50 largest endowments:

Median debt of HBCU Graduate – $30 344 ($22 020)

Proportion of HBCU Graduates with debt – 88% (45%)

Nonfederal debt, % of total debt of graduates – 6% (23%)

Pell Grant Recipients – 69% (17%)

The statistics show that HBCU students are still 28 percent more likely to graduate with debt than the national average, a figure that was at 35 percent two years ago. A sign that the nation is catching up to the HBCU indebted way of life. HBCU graduates are 96 percent more likely to graduate with debt than someone from a school with a top 50 endowment, which is higher than the 93 percent two years ago. Unfortunately, there is no way to break out the African American student loan debt data of those attending those HWCUs which would help control for family resources playing an integral part in the difference. Given top 50 endowments ability to provide more low-income based aid; it is a safe assumption that the student loan debt is potentially lower for African Americans at HWCUs both in terms of percentage of those graduating with debt and debt loads. Over the past two years, median debt for HBCU graduates has risen 5.4 percent in comparison to top 50 endowment schools of only 1.4 percent. Both groups though are below the aforementioned national average over the same time period.

The most telling sign of just how vital endowments impact student loan debt appears in the median cost of attendance for HBCUs versus top 50 endowment institutions. Top 50 endowment institutions cost almost three times as much or 177 percent more than HBCUs in terms of median total cost of attendance. Despite this HBCU graduates are still twice as likely to finish with debt and with more of it is a disturbing reality of just how big the institutional wealth gap is. HBCU graduates are finishing with almost 38 percent more student loan debt burdens than their top 50 endowment institution counterparts. A problem that will have very long term systemic wealth building implications if not attacked ferociously. Currently, the median net worth or wealth for African Americans is the lowest among all groups in this country at $11 000. In comparison, Asian and European American median net worth is $91 440 and $134 008, respectively.

As I said two years ago, we could spend years playing the blame game of why this situation is as it is. Unfortunately, African America does not have that kind of time. Two years later, it seems even harder to believe that the HBCU community has any more grapple or workable solution on this problem than before. There seems to be a foregone conclusion that student loan debt is just a part of life and as is the case with most things in this nation when America catches a cold, then African America catches pneumonia. The question becomes just how much debt and how fast it accumulates will ultimately determine the sustainability factor for how long-term benefits will be reaped by graduates, their families and communities. Unfortunately, HBCUs are caught between a rock and hard place in needing to desperately raise tuition to generate more revenue because of weak endowments, but doing so increases an already over-sized burden on their graduates long-term and making it even less likely they will become the donors that the institutions desperately need. It has become a vicious cycle and with so much of African America and America invested in the demise of HBCUs that it seems only a miracle will keep us from perishing.

2015 HBCU-Based Credit Unions: Alabama A&M’s Councill Credit Union Leads A Weak Pack


Opportunity has power over all things. – Sophocles

CFCU

(Pictured Above: Councill Federal Credit Union at Alabama A&M University)

The release of the second annual HBCU Money African American Credit Union Directory allowed us to uncover two more HBCU-based credit unions. A total of eleven HBCU-based credit unions that control a combined $87 million in assets and have 17 099 in members. For comparison, Navy Federal Credit Union, America’s largest credit union has $63.7 billion in assets and 5.3 million members. Three years ago, I wrote on what forming a national HBCU credit union would look like and why it should be a reality. As it turns out, much of the infrastructure for this reality is already in place. Now the question is, what is holding us back?

  1. Southern Teachers & Parents (LA) – $28 million ($29 million)
  2. Florida A&M University (FL) – $19.6 million ($20.6 million)
  3. Howard University Employees (DC) – $11.3 million ($11.4 million)
  4. Virginia State University (VA) – $9.6 million ($10.6 million)
  5. Prairie View (TX) – $4.8 million ($5 million)
  6. Savastate Teachers (GA) – $3.6 million ($3.6 million)
  7. Councill (AL) – $3.4 million ($3.1 million)
  8. Xavier University (LA) – $2.4 million (N/A)
  9. Arkansas A&M College (AR) – $2.3 million (N/A)
  10. Tennessee State University (TN) – $1.4 million ($1.4 million)
  11. Shaw University (NC) – $0.5 million ($0.5 million)

If the eleven merged it would the eleventh largest credit union by assets and by members, and would be only the second African American financial institution with a national footprint. The other being OneUnited Bank, which covers Massachusetts, Florida, and California.The lack of products at HBCU-based credit unions continues to be a chief complaint of why so little deposits seem to remain in them. Everything from better web-presence, mobile banking, investment products, and small business loans could be rolled out in scale if the eleven merged.

Instead, six of the nine HBCU-based credit unions we reported from last year saw their assets drop. Median and average assets fell 1.7 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively among last year’s group of nine. In terms of membership, membership also declined in six of the nine HBCU-based credit unions as well. Membership overall fared into the red with median and average membership down 2.3 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively. Two trends you want to desperately avoid if you are any institution. The best performer was Councill Credit Union at Alabama A&M University who saw an increase of 8.5 percent in assets, this despite the second worse drop among the group in membership decline with a 17 percent drop. Tennessee State University’s Credit Union had the largest increase in membership with a 6.3 percent increase from 2014. However, it only resulted a 1.7 percent increase in assets. One of only three HBCU-based credit unions to see an increase of any sort in assets from the previous year so I guess the cup is half full if you want to see it as such.

Unfortunately, there also seems to be no urgency by these credit unions to do the things necessary to increase their membership and assets. Students entering into HBCUs today may be more financially illiterate than a generation ago, but they have more complex financial needs thanks in large part to student loans playing such a large role into today’s higher education finance. Not to mention the reduced role that social security will play in their long-term retirement planning. An issue that should be prompting more HBCU-based credit unions to find ways to help students reduce student loan debt and start retirement planning while in college. A hard task to give this group given the limited financial products and services they offer leave HBCU-based credit unions minute opportunity to serve the needs of students, faculty, campus organizations, or even the HBCUs themselves. These limited products and services are largely an issue of lacking scale. Instead of a credit union with at least $87 million in assets, the median is $3.6 million amongst eleven with declining assets and membership. Instead of students, faculty, and institutions who travel more today than ever to conferences, tournaments, etc. being able to access their money at one of the eleven branches or through mobile app banking along the way, they are limited to just one insular branch with technology that at best reminds you of AOL dial-up. Holding onto students is even more difficult with most returning to their hometowns or nearest major city upon graduation and only returning to the campus at most once a year for homecoming. Incentive to keep banking beyond graduation? None.

Lauryn Hill has a wonderful song called the Ex-Factor that I think often describes African America institutional strategic behavior and with HBCU-based credit unions it seems no different. “It could all be so simple, but you’d rather make it hard. Loving you is like a battle and we both end up with scars.” I still believe with the right vision, an HBCU credit union could rival the Navy Federal Credit Union and give African America a place of financial safety instead of the scars we constantly end up with from predatory financial services that come into communities because we are left with such meager choices from our own financial institutions. It really all could be so simple, but more than likely we will continue to make it hard.