The Hope Center

#RealCollege™ HBCU

We have released a statement on bomb threats at HBCU campuses.

Read it here.

The #RealCollege™ HBCU initiative is a partnership between The Hope Center and the Center for the Study of HBCUs that will support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), including Historically Black Community Colleges (HBCCs), to build an ecosystem of basic needs supports for their students. The initiative will support 10 HBCUs in building an ecosystem of basic needs supports.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established after the Civil War to meet the educational needs of Black Americans. They provide pathways to upward social mobility and have a long-standing commitment to promoting both academic success and students’ health and well-being. But persistent funding inequities at both the state and federal levels actively undermine those commitments and leave the sector particularly vulnerable during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This initiative seeks to support HBCUs by providing them with training and coaching to help them secure additional financial resources, develop strategies for bridging gaps in student support, and sustain basic needs programs over time.

This collaborative partnership between our Centers is a way to take a united stance against inequity, to build institutional capacity at HBCUs, and to move the needle through specific sets of actions. Right now is the right time to do this good work.

Terrell L. Strayhorn, PhD
Virginia Union University

When basic needs are satisfied, students are considered basic needs secure. As with adults outside of postsecondary education, meeting students’ basic needs requires an ecosystem where multiple systems work together to support students. Basic needs insecurity is not an individual characteristic or failing and tackling insecurity requires a new, innovative approach. Like the community schools movement, which relies on the full community to meet students’ needs to support academic success, #RealCollege™ takes a holistic research approach to breaking the cycle of poverty by naming and addressing its effects on education.

The Latest Data

In fall 2020, nearly 5,000 students from 14 public and private HBCUs participated in the Hope Center’s annual #RealCollege Survey. This is what they told us about being a student during the pandemic:

  • 52% had a close friend or family member who got sick with COVID-19
  • 24% lost a loved one to COVID-19
  • 20% experienced homelessness in the last 12 months
  • 55% were housing insecure in the last 12 months
  • 46% were food insecure in the last 30 days

#RealCollege™ HBCU Coalition Members

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We are grateful for the generous financial support provided by ECMC Foundation and The Annie E. Casey Foundation that made this report possible.