While attending the National Urban League National Higher Education Summit in Washington, D.C., this week, some of us around the lunch table were scratching our heads after reading the results of the new Gallup poll that examined five areas of well-being that graduates of four-year colleges were experiencing.
Black, white, Hispanic, and Asian American graduates were polled, but black respondents who had graduated from historically black colleges and those who had graduated from predominantly white institutions reported significantly different levels of well-being.
The HBCU grads had a markedly higher sense of well-being in all five areas (purpose, social, financial, community, and physical) than grads who had not attended HBCUs. Interestingly, this differential did not exist between Hispanic students who had attended Hispanic-serving institutions and those who had not; and American Indians were not included in the poll.
Reading the poll results, I wondered, had I done the right thing to steer my children toward schools that, frankly, offered them the best financial aid package? A young man at the summit, a graduate of Williams College who grew up in Newark, New Jersey, wondered the same thing: Had he made the right choice to turn down Howard, after spending a summer program there as a high schooler?
Another woman at our table spent one semester at Howard and, unhappy with her experience, returned to school in Hawaii.