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HBCU enrollment could spike with Supreme Court affirmative action decision

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Historically Black Colleges and University advocates say the affirmative action decision is a major blow, and it’ll limit choices for Black students.

Some people, who are against the decision, say our strength as a nation comes from our diversity, and this reduces it, but hope remains that new strategies can be in place to counter decisions that further marginalize and oppress Black and other communities of color.

Alana Foster, a recent Pike High School graduate is heading to college in the fall. She’s taking up journalism at Harris Stowe State University. One of more than 100 HBCUs around the country.

“I just fell in love with it. I knew I wanted to go to an HBCU since like eighth grade,” said Foster.

She’s joining a growing list of students, particularly Black students, who are making the choice to enroll in an HBCU.

HBCU were founded as places of higher education during a time when Black students weren’t allowed to attend other institutions. It’s foundation holds true for her, offering a sense of belonging.

“I know at a predominantly white institution, I would have to be part of the Black Student Association, and for me, I never wanted that to be the case. I didn’t want to be one of the numbers. I didn’t want to be 13 percent. I didn’t want to be 14 percent. I want to be the majority.”

Jerome Goodwin is president of the National Association of College Deans, Registrars, and Admission officers, an agency with a central focus on HBCUs. Goodwin says enrollment is already going up.

“We go through a cycle where we make gains, and then we have some setbacks along the way. The old adage of a setback is a setup for a comeback.”

Goodwin says the Supreme Court’s decision to roll back affirmative action in college admission is concerning, and we can expect to see it’s impact on multiple fronts.

Fewer students of color at predominately white institutions is one, but also an opportunity he says to welcome Black students “back home.”

“I’m hopeful, because we have made tremendous strides.”

Foster says she’s ready.

“Sometimes people look down on HBCUs a lot of the time. They underestimate them.”

Multiple groups are responding to this decision. The Urban League called it “a historic day for the wrong reasons,” and is asking people to join them in pushing back on social media and using #WeBelong.