Higher education desegregation and the performance of public Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Sharon D Peters, Tennessee State University


This work represents an exploratory study designed to produce a data focused and comparative examination of the performance of the thirty eight publicly funded Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) located in nineteen states. The investigation focused on the effects of the desegregation process on their growth and the centrality of race in their development. The study examines the collective history of these institutions along with the key players and processes in their development. The primary research questions ask which institutions evidenced the highest performance levels and what factors explain their success in three factors: enrollment, number of graduates and generated funding? An ARIMA time series analysis was conducted for the years 1980-2005 examining the effect of institutional and state variables on the performance of thirty eight public HBCUs. Open ended interviews with key respondents knowledgeable in the area of higher education desegregation were conducted to further explore the relationships and pertinent issues. The variables of state higher education funding and the percentage of the African American population were found to be significant. The major limitations of this investigation were access to data and a lack of a well developed research tradition examining public HBCUs. Additional research should focus on a further elaborate the relationships and factors that lead to public HBCU success. Additional exposition is needed as to the strengths of HBCUs in educating diverse and underserved populations.

Subject Area

Black studies|Public administration|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Sharon D Peters, "Higher education desegregation and the performance of public Historically Black Colleges and Universities" (2008). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3307302.