February 12, 1996
Web posted at: 12:30 a.m. EST
From Correspondent Jed Duvall
HAMPTON, Virginia (CNN) -- In the last five years, attendance at black schools has been growing at twice the national average.
The figures are not surprising to students who attend some of the more than 115 predominately black colleges and universities.
"I wanted to go to a place where the recruiter will be looking for me, not over me," said a student at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
"Where else, other than jail, will you find 300 black males together? This is good for brotherhood," said a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia.
Bill Grey, head of the United Negro College Fund, says its not just attendance numbers that are up. The statistics also look good for the students' job prospects.
Eighty percent of black physicians, 75 percent of black Ph.D.s and 60 percent of black lawyers did their undergraduate work at black colleges, according to Grey.
"The best welfare reform program is a college education," he said.
Some worry that despite the quality of education at black colleges, most are still not seen as an integral part of the education landscape.
As Florida A&M's president pointed out, while 8,000 Ph.D.s were awarded to international students in 1994, only about 1,000 went to African-Americans.
"I want you to change the direction of the dollars," said William Humphries. "If they are not going to support American citizens and grant them the opportunity to get Ph.D.s, then I don't want you taking my tax dollars and giving to them. I want you to send it back to me."
And what of the future of historically black colleges?
William Harvey, president of Hampton University, called a conference to answer that question.
"Our role is to prepare students to be Ph.D.s and for the world at large," he concluded. "That role will continue."
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