Georgia Wants More White Students To Enroll at State’s HBCUs
Looking to increase diversity at all its schools, the University System of Georgia wants more White students to enroll at the state’s three historically Black public colleges.
“There is educational value in studying with people that are different than yourself,” says Dr. Stephen Portch, the system’s chancellor. Portch called for increased diversity efforts in his state of the system address last month.
A new task force and the board of regents will spend upcoming months looking at ways to attract more White students to the historically Black colleges — Albany, Fort Valley and Savannah state universities — and to draw more Black students to the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech.
At each of the three historically Black colleges, Blacks made up more than 90 percent of the student body last fall.
Enticing more White, Hispanic and Asian students to the Black schools might force the state to shift more money to those campuses.
“What can you do? Make Fort Valley look like [Athens State], the land-grant college over in Athens,” says Dr. Henry Ponder, president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education. “Give them the agricultural research. … Give them the school of business you have over at Athens. We need to be sincere about making the Black colleges equitable with White colleges.”
White students now make up only 5.3 percent of the student body at Fort Valley, 7.3 percent at Albany and 7.9 percent at Savannah. Two-year Atlanta Metropolitan College counted only 17 students who were not Black out of 1,887.
The university system has struggled for years to increase Black enrollment at the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech. Last fall, Black students made up only 5.9 percent of the Athens school’s student body and only 8.5 percent at Georgia Tech. Blacks make up more than 27 percent of the state population.
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