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White kid at HBCU? (Specifically Tuskegee)


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I’ve already searched for past threads:

My DD currently attends a CC where she is the minority, but there is a lot of diversity (about 60% Black on her campus). She’s done well there, and is quite comfortable. She’s been in cheer since she was 4, and until 2 years ago, was in a rec league that mostly competes at HBCUs, and has had a lot of experiences with the college cheer and dance team and sorority girls helping the younger girls with hair, makeup, and just making them welcome, so she’s pretty comfortable on those campuses. The public HBCU in our state has a good research program in herpetology, where she knows several grad students (and has helped raise funds for one of them to do his research for his doctorate).  When an HBCU fair was advertised, she decided to go. Overall, it was a great experience, very validating (I have a separate thread on the topic) 

And she may well have found a school that might be an excellent fit. Tuskegee has an amazing animal science program, and is one of the only schools we’ve looked at that specifically has animal science focused on experimental biology, for kids who want to eventually work on the research side. DD wants to eventually go into ethology (animal behavior). While herps are her favorite species, she’s not tied to that, but she doesn’t want to train dogs or horses, either, and when she’s mentioned animal behavior, most schools have started talking about pre-vet or equine science.  Tuskegee also has an excellent bioethics program, and requires more bioethics coursework for majors in biology and related fields than any other school we’ve seen. The program really sounds like a good fit for her.

And she currently qualifies, based on grades and test scores, for excellent merit aid. 

The big thing that is keeping me from being all in is that I’m not sure that it’s fair for DD to take a space in a historically Black space (and it’s hard to find a more historically Black space than Tuskegee) from a deserving student, and while she is truly appreciative of the culture (at least the part of it that she’s been around) , there’s a fine line between appreciation and appropriation. She may be the minority on her CC campus, or on her cheer team, or in a World Dance class, or even in large parts of our city, bit she’s still about as WASP as you can get, and there is a lot of privilege that comes with it. I went to a predominantly Latino/NA school as an undergrad where I was in the minority (and on a scholarship to diversity campus) and worked in Head Start and public schools where I was often one of the only white faces in the building, but those weren’t historical spaces so much as just ones due to location.


Does anyone have any experience with a white kid at an HBCU for a specific program, and, especially, are there any HBCU alums or parents who have an opinion? 

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According to this article, here is the policy about non-black students attending HBCUs:

Tuskegee is an "Historically Black College or University" (HBCU)

The Higher Education Act of 1965 established historically black colleges and universities as institutions whose principal mission was the education of African-Americans. Today, the HBCU designation does not necessitate that Tuskegee is exclusively or even predominantly African-American (though it currently is). Thanks to integration efforts, there are HBCUs with non-black majorities and non-HBCUs with black majorities. For more information you can review theWhite House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

According to these stats, the diversity of Tuskeegee is:
   72.6% black or African American
   25.6% ethnicity unknown
   01.8% other
   62.% female
   37.2% male
  ~ 2/3 undergrads from the 3 US states of AL (27%), GA (22%), and CA (14%)
  ~ 1/3 undergrads from other US states, with less than 1% international

Obviously the school itself is open to diversity. And since the *school* gets to choose for itself who to accept or not -- it's not an automatic acceptance for your DD for any reason -- race, gender, location/nationality, etc. -- I don't see how this could be considered taking away a spot by applying. As far as possibly "taking away" merit aid from another student... From what I'm seeing here on Tuskeegee's web page on scholarships, they do not offer *automatic* aid for high test scores and academics:

"At Tuskegee University, we... offer... a limited number of renewable merit scholarships.  There is no separate scholarship application.  All students are considered for these opportunities on the basis of their admissions applications and supporting documentation (e.g. official high school transcripts, etc.). 

From this wording, it is clear that the *school* makes the final decision of awarding scholarships, taking those considerations into account (the website shows minimum GPA and test score requirements to be *eligible* for different scholarship awards), but the school is not "dictated to" by those considerations. So no guarantee that DD would get aid/be taking aid away from another student.

It sounds like the degree program and specific science focus is a good fit for DD, and that she already has experience/is comfortable with the student body and campus environment of an HBAC, so nothing there to give pause in applying. And just because a student applies and is accepted to a school, doesn't mean the student has to decide to go there -- once DD has applied and been accepted to several schools, she'll still need to sort through the pros and cons of each to make a final decision.

Edited by Lori D.
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My son briefly considered a predominantly AA college.  He doesn't mind being the minority.  He hung out with a lot of AAs at CC.   However, we got a lot of feedback from others about what it would be like to live at the predominantly AA college and one person said a family member went to one of our state AA colleges and there was some definite discrimination from the students, almost angry that he was there, comments about him having all sorts of opportunities they didn't have, so why did he come to their school and take one of their spots.  He ended up transferring.

Now, I am hoping that was just an isolated incident, but it was enough to scare my son away.

On the flip side, a fellow teacher I met is as blonde and white as you can get and she went to Howard and had a good experience.  She did say she had some comments from some and it was a challenge at times, but she was ok with it.

So I would assume it would depend on the person and comfort levels and the ability to be able to not worry what people think.

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