NC Legislature Shortchanged A&T, the Nation’s Biggest HBCU, by Billions

North Carolina lawmakers fell far short of equally funding the state's colleges, with NC A&T receiving billions less than it should have. (Image via Shutterstock)

By Sarah Ovaska

February 3, 2022

Public HBCUs across the nation and North Carolina have gone decades without equal levels of funding, a new report found. The bill due is jaw-dropping. 

North Carolina has shortchanged NC A&T, the largest HBCU in the country, by billions of dollars over the last two decades, a new analysis found.

The analysis by Forbes looked at per-student funding from 1987 to 2020 of historically black college and universities (HBCUs) and  predominantly white institutions (PWI) across the country.

Coming up as the most egregious case was NC A&T, where the school has been underfunded by a staggering $2.8 billion when compared to the money sent to other campuses in the state.  

The Greensboro land-grant university is the largest HBCU in the country, with 11,600 undergraduates, and is nationally recognized for its STEM programs. Land-grant universities were created to initially center on agricultural research, and many Southern states founded separate public land-grant research colleges during segregation for its white and Black populations.

NC A&T has failed to get the same per-student funding from the state legislature as NC State University, the state’s other land grant university which historically and currently has a student population that is largely white.  

The imbalance in funding continues today, as the Forbes investigation found.

The Republican-led state legislature sent NC State, where 7% of the students are Black, an extra $79 million for research in 2020, while NC A&T got just $9.5 million in additional dollars for research, Forbes reported.

North Carolina has more public HBCUs than any other state in the nation. But underfunding has been an issue for years, and one that has not gone unnoticed among lawmakers pushing for a more equitable education system. 

Five of the state’s 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system are HBCUs: Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, NC A&T, NC Central University,  and Winston-Salem State University. The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a minority-serving institution (MSI), initially established in 1887 for Native American students in the southeastern part of the state.


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