Last week, we released a new report on our growing HBCU Initiative— an effort to partner with North Carolina’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities to extend entrepreneurship opportunities for HBCU students and surrounding community members. In it, we showed that there is a great opportunity for CDFIs like ours to partner with HBCUs to achieve a greater impact on our communities and economy.
A recent report by the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) provides more analysis on the outsized economic impact of HBCUs, nationally and at the state level. The total impacts of HBCUs across the US are:
- $14.8 billion economic impact of HBCU spending. Every dollar spent by an HBCU and its students generates an additional $1.44 in spending within their local and regional economies.
- 134,090 total employment impact. For every job created by an HBCU, another 1.3 public- and private-sector jobs are created off-campus
- $130 billion in lifetime earnings for graduates.
North Carolina’s HBCUs contribute $1.7 billion in total economic impact, both the direct impacts of HBCU spending and the indirect ripple effects that it generates. Every dollar in HBCU initial spending spurs $1.42 in spending in the local economy. Our HBCUs employ 15,563 people, and for every job created, another 1.2 jobs are created off-campus. Finally, the total lifetime earnings for NC’s HBCU graduates is $20.7 billion.
These are significant impacts, and as our report shows, can be leveraged with the resources of other institutions to provide even more benefits for students and community members. The UNCF analysis points out that in North Carolina, most of our HBCUs are located in the southeast region and in areas that have struggled with economic distress. The resources that they bring to the local economy are even more critical in these communities.
HBCUs also have an impact beyond the numbers. These institutions are important to the historical, social, and cultural fabric of our nation as well. They have provided an avenue for higher education for African-American students, when often the path to educational attainment was blocked or inaccessible. They provide a unique learning environment for students, particularly as we see economic inequality grow along racial and ethnic lines. While state-sanctioned segregation no longer exists, many individuals and communities face barriers accessing economic and financial stability. HBCUs, as mission-driven institutions, help to break down these barriers and level the playing field for students of color.
Given their impact and role in communities, the time is ripe for other mission-driven organizations, like CDFIs, to find way to deepen our impact together. #HBCUStrong #CDFIsInvest