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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bradley U chapter.

If you’re on any social media, you know the current debate happening. The debate in question is whether or not HBCUs are better than PWIs. HBCU stands for historically black colleges/universities; PWI stands for predominately white institutions. As a POC (person-of-color) I had to ask myself this question and reflect accordingly. When thinking about it, I took into consideration the cost as well as other people’s experiences.

While thinking about other people’s experiences I took to social media and the news to understand the living conditions and social situations happening on HBCU campuses. For the last two years, HBCUs have gotten a lot of notoriety for their continuous housing crisis. For example, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) had to resort to putting their students in off-campus housing or apartments. A lot of students were temporarily living in hotels until they could figure something out. This happens every year across multiple universities.

Another example of people’s experiences especially with the dorms comes from Howard University. Last year students took to TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook to bring awareness to how they were being forced to live. They lived in unsafe conditions as mold spread throughout entire dorm buildings and contaminated people’s belongings. At some point, the students began living in tents outside of these buildings to protest and demonstrate the tents being safer. This got the attention of media news teams. By the time they arrived, Howard officials had already ordered maintenance to paint over the mold. If you are unaware, painting over mold does not solve the problem and still leaves the students at a risk of illness. Students moved back in and had to pretend that there was nothing wrong anymore. Rather than staying, most students decided to transfer.

As someone who initially took an interest in Howard, when I saw this it changed my mind completely. I didn’t understand how a space is supposed to catered to and welcome POC could treat them like this. Especially for how expensive it is to attend these schools. This leads me to my other form of evaluation: the cost.

The cost to attend HBCUs is a little higher than most public colleges. As a PWI student, I am awarded different diversity grants and scholarships because I am in the minority. Attending a HBCU as a person of color, causes those scholarships and grants to no longer available because you are no longer in the minority. When you are a part of the majority diversity scholarships do not apply. Not only that, but if you are going to a private HBCU you’d lose out on more scholarships.

HBCUs are not all bad. As a POC it gave me comfort to know that if I went to an HBCU I would’ve be surrounded by educated people who look like me. If I would have chose to go, it would have been the only moment like that in my life – seeing predominantly black excellence in its standing. Also, you’ll be able to find black people who share your same interests. In a PWI setting, you bond with other people of color to stay connected. In an HBCU setting since everyone is black, it’s easier to find your niche and be friends because you have things in common other than skin color.

With all this being said, go where you feel comfortable and welcomed. Unlike highschool, if it doesn’t work out you can always transfer!

Aja Jones

Bradley U '25

Hi, I'm Aja and I am a Psychology and English double major. I'm spontaneous and I love to be on the go especially when I'm in my hometown of Cleveland. Even though I have an outrageous personality, I enjoy chill things the most such as watching anime, reading, writing (in all forms) and sleeping.