The nation’s HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in economic impact annually; that’s equivalent to a ranking in the top 200 on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest corporations and they generate 134,090 jobs in total for their local and regional economies; that’s equivalent to the jobs provided by Oracle, the nation’s 48th largest private employer.
In short, the national’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities matter—to students, employers, communities and the nation. That’s the conclusion drawn by a study: HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically, released this week by the United Negro College Fund. The report, commissioned by UNCF’s Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute, shows the economic benefits of HBCUs extend to more than just the students themselves.
This study examines the spending and employment impacts of the nation’s HBCUs total – and for 100 HBCUs individually – on their local and regional economies, as well as the lifetime earnings of the 2014 class of more than 50,000 HBCU graduates. Some of the study’s findings:
The estimate of $14.8 billion in annual economic impact of HBCUs includes direct spending by HBCUs on faculty, employees, academic programs and operations, and by students attending the institutions, as well as the follow-on effects of that spending. Every dollar in spending by an HBCU and its students produces positive economic benefits, generating $1.44 in initial and subsequent spending for its local and regional economies.
For each job created on an HBCU campus, another 1.3 public- and private-sector jobs are created off campus because of HBCU-related spending. Looked at a different way: Each $1 million initially spent by an HBCU and its students creates 13 jobs.
The 50,000-plus HBCU graduates in 2014 can expect total earnings of $130 billion over their lifetimes—that’s 56% more than they could expect to earn without their college credentials. Viewed on an individual basis: An HBCU graduate working full time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $927,000 in additional income due to a college credential.
This survey builds on a 2015 Gallup-USA Funds Minority College Graduates Report shows that “HBCUs provide Black graduates with a better college experience than they would get at non-HBCUs.” The Gallup study concludes that “Black HBCU graduates are more likely to be thriving in purpose and financial well-being than Black graduates who did not receive their degrees from HBCUs.”
In essence, the study found that Black HBCU graduates were more prepared for life, and more likely to be engaged at work, than Black graduates of non-HBCUs.
There are 101 accredited HBCUs, public and private, concentrated in 19 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They enroll almost 300,000 students, approximately 80% of whom are African American, and 70% are from low-income families.
The complete report and economic impact of individual HBCUs can be found online at uncf.org/programs/hbcu-impact.