What does President-elect Donald Trump know about historically black colleges and universities?
That’s what leaders and advocates of the nation’s HBCUs, the common shorthand for historically black schools, have been trying to figure out since Trump’s surprising victory in November’s presidential election.
“What are the priorities for HBCUs in the new administration? I don’t know,” said Ronald Carter, president of Johnson C. Smith University, a four-year private HBCU in Charlotte, N.C. “I think it’s a bit premature to try to guess or deduce what he’ll do and what the priorities will be for higher education in general and historically black colleges and universities in particular.”
But it appears that the incoming 45th president is trying to learn as much about black colleges as the institutions are trying to learn about his level of his commitment to funding and supporting their campuses. HBCUs are any black college or university established before 1964 with the principal mission of educating African-Americans.
HBCU officials and Trump advisers have been huddling, having discussions that some participants describe as listening sessions and sales pitches for the incoming administration to heavily invest in the 100-plus HBCU campuses, which are home to about 300,000 students.