Louisiana’s HBCUs Have a Lasting Impact

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) exist across the United States but are particularly concentrated in the South. Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Black Americans relied on these institutions to achieve higher education. Since the majority of higher education institutions completely disqualified or overwhelmingly limited Black students from attending, HBCUs helped to ensure opportunities were available.

The positive impact of HBCUs on the nation’s economy is grossly understudied. In 2017 the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) undertook a study of the economic impact of HBCUs that was the first of its kind. They found that across the United States, historic Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) generate $14.8 billion in economic impact each year. Louisiana is home to six of these institutions:

  • Dillard University
  • Grambling State University
  • Southern University and A&M College
  • Southern University at New Orleans
  • Southern University at Shreveport
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

According to the UNCF report titled HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and UniversitiesHBCUs have generated $923 million in total economic impact across the U.S. This includes not only direct spending by faculty, employees, various academic and sports programs, and students, but also the further effects of that spending. UNCF found that every dollar in initial spending generated an additional $1.39 in successive spending. The ripple effect continues to spread, helping to generate additional money for the communities and regions of the state where these universities reside.

Louisiana’s HBCUs create 8,454 jobs in their local region and community. Only 3,578 of those are on campus – the other 4,876 are off-campus. According to the report, every $1 million spent by one of Louisiana’s six HBCUs and their students creates 13 jobs.

Perhaps more important, however, is the personal economic impact an education at an HBCU can have on its students. In 2014, 3,580 students graduated from Louisiana’s HBCUs. Those students can expect to earn around $9.4 billion collectively over their lifetimes – 53 percent more than they would have expected to earn without a college degree. On a more individual basis, each graduate can expect to earn $910,000 more with an HBCU college credential than without.

“Here in New Orleans, we are the proud home of two distinguished member institutions, Dillard University and Xavier University of Louisiana,” said Mayor LaToya Cantrell. The work UNCF does is an investment in our next generation of leaders and change-makers, and they make a real impact on our community, on our families, and on our city.”

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