An aerial view of North Carolina Central University in the spring. 

Nov 22 2021

Creating a Strong Financial Future for HBCUs

Let’s get historically Black colleges and universities the support needed to deliver quality online education.

Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are direct drivers of economic mobility: Nearly 3 out of 5 students there are the first in their families to attend college. What’s more, HBCUs have always provided a crucial lifeline for the Black community, especially during times of crisis.

Despite the essential role that HBCUs play in creating Black excellence, structural racism has left our most critical institutions chronically underfunded. For decades, states have withheld billions of dollars in funding from HBCUs. Between 2003 and 2015, HBCUs also faced sharp declines in federal funding.

In recent years, the federal government, corporate sponsors and celebrity donors have made modest commitments to supporting HBCUs. Still, these funds are a Band-Aid solution to a systemic problem.

As colleges across the nation compete for fewer students, it is becoming increasingly difficult for HBCUs to maintain strong enrollment numbers. To create sustainable funding mechanisms, HBCUs need partners that can help rethink strategies, forge relationships and identify new opportunities.

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Making Hybrid Learning Work for HBCUs

Hybrid learning is becoming a permanent fixture in higher education. Even long after the pandemic ends, a significant portion of prospective students will still want the flexibility that asynchronous and hybrid learning provides.

But when chronically underfunded HBCUs are stuck with outdated hardware, software and networking solutions, it prevents them from delivering quality hybrid courses.

The abrupt transition to remote learning has hurt HBCUs more than it has predominantly white institutions (PWIs). CDW•G is here to help HBCUs get the technologies and strategies required to build a sustainable future.

From creating financially sustainable one-to-one and two-to-one device programs to avoiding supply chain disruptions and saving money through lifecycle asset management, we can help you reduce the cost of managing online classes.

RELATED: In AI, colleges see cost-effective ways to boost enrollment. 

Managed Service Providers Help HBCUs Tackle Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is necessary to close the digital divide, but how can HBCUs handle an onslaught of new technologies when many schools have only a few IT staffers serving thousands of students?

This is an unfortunate reality for schools that serve primarily students of color. The upside is that a lot of network, security, application and help desk work can be outsourced to managed service providers.

This is exactly how Lincoln University, a Pennsylvania HBCU with 15 IT staffers and 2,200 students, was able to offer 24/7 support while also updating 50 percent of the school’s Cisco routers and switches across 56 buildings on campus.

MORE ON EDTECH: Learn how to choose an IT service provider that meets your needs.

Creating a Support Structure That Aligns with HBCUs

At CDW•G, we understand HBCUs have entirely different needs than those of PWIs. We are developing creative solutions to address the unique needs of these institutions and help create equitable access to technology.

CDW•G can assist with navigating partnerships with manufacturers and help HBCUs build bridges and forge relationships for continual growth. We will work with you, listen to you and create the support structure and solutions you need.

This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.

Ryan Herron/Getty Images

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