Our program to raise awareness of Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and provide mentoring opportunities to students of color will offer an introductory session Dec. 2 for participating districts.
As part of the session, staff will set the stage with presentations from two HBCU alumni and a PBS video titled “Tell Them We Are Rising: The History of HBCUs in America.”
Presentations from representatives of various HBCUs will begin in January and will alternate with monthly mentoring sessions. Eight schools have signed up for the program, and we’re working with nearly 20 adults of color to serve as mentors.
“We continue to recruit mentors and invite Black or Brown professionals to contact us if they’d like to get involved in our virtual sessions,” said Frank Kamara, who is organizing the program in collaboration with other staffers.
HBCUs were established to educate people of color prior to passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but they remain a compelling option. They represent only 3% of all U.S. colleges and universities, but produce 20% of the nation’s Black graduates.
“One big reason is that they’re a bargain,” Kamara said, noting that tuition rates at HBCUs average 30% less than at comparable institutions. “These schools also are known for providing a stable and nurturing environment for those most at risk of not entering or completing college, including low-income students, or those who are the first-generation in their families to seek degrees.”
Districts participating in the HBCU and mentoring program include Clairton City, Duquesne City, East Allegheny, McKeesport Area, Penn Hills, Steel Valley and Wilkinsburg.