US: Economic woes test historically black colleges

Historically black colleges and universities, which for decades have been educating students who cannot afford to go - or cannot imagine going - elsewhere, have been particularly challenged by America's economic meltdown, writes Errin Haines for Associated Press. Enrolments at the schools have declined at the same time endowments have dropped and fundraising sources have dried up. The same is true at most universities, but often students at historically black institutions need more aid to stay on course.

"What's most difficult for our institutions is that they are tuition-driven," said Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund. "They don't have large endowments, and even the ones who do, have seen a large reduction in the value of those endowments."

Only three black colleges - Howard University in Washington, DC, Spelman College in Atlanta and Hampton University in Virginia - had endowments among the top 300 included in the survey. Most lack the resources and strength in alumni giving of their mainstream counterparts.
Full report on the Associated Press site