A half-empty classroom at Paine College in Augusta. Many HBCUs are flourishing, but tiny Paine is facing serious problems, including an enrollment decline of nearly 50 percent from 2010 to 2015.
Photo: Chris Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: Chris Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Perilous times for historically black colleges

Two years ago, Amelia Smith received the one thing she thought she always wanted – a blue envelope from Spelman College. She had been accepted to what many consider the finest black college in America.

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Her grandmother went to Spelman. So did her mother. And her aunt. And her sister, who’s a senior there now. So Smith wasn’t surprised when she was accepted, too. 

She is just wrapping up her sophomore year. But not at Spelman. She’s studying biomedical engineering at Georgia Tech. 

“I am kind of the black sheep in the family,” Smith said. “When I got accepted into Tech, I felt very proud of myself. My grandmother (a dean at Fort Valley State University) was very proud of me. She said if she had had the opportunity to go to Tech when she was choosing a college, she would have gone. But she never got that chance.”

To read the complete story, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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