Chapter 7: Historically Black Colleges and Universities


Highlights . . .

Background

For over a century, HBCUs have played an important role in the higher education of black students. In the fall of 1993, over 282,000 students attended the 107 colleges and universities considered HBCUs by the U.S. Department of Education.

Many of the HBCUs are relatively small institutions, with considerably less research space than other research-performing institutions. Given budget constraints in recent years, the construction of S&E research space has been limited. Yet, HBCUs are important to the production of black scientists and engineers. Although they enroll only 17 percent of all black college students nationwide, HBCUs awarded 44 percent of all bachelor's degrees in the sciences that went to black students in 1990 (Academe, January/February 1995).

This chapter profiles S&E research facilities at the research-performing HBCUs; and examines the amount of S&E space, its adequacy and condition, capital project activity, funding sources, and the need for additional or renovated space.

The Survey Questions

The profile of research facilities in HBCUs presented in this chapter is based upon all survey questions examined in previous chapters.

Data Considerations

The National Advisory Committee on Black Higher Education and Black Colleges and Universities identified 107 HBCUs [1]. Of this group, 29 reported separately budgeted research expenditures in 1988, the year in which the first, full-scale facilities survey was conducted by NSF. All of these institutions were included in the 1988 sample and in subsequent samples. In 1992, NSF identified an additional 41 HBCUs that had separately budgeted research and development (R&D) expenditures. In 1992, the survey sample included the original panel of 29 institutions, and the additional 41, for a total of 70 research-performing HBCUs. Two HBCUs, however, did not have R&D expenditures in 1994 or 1996, resulting in a total of 68 research-performing HBCUs for those two years.

As a result of these additional HBCUs, two sets of estimates can be provided. Previous reports have focused on the original panel of 29 HBCUs. This report breaks from that tradition and presents data on the larger group of HBCUs, from 1992 to 1996. Trends in results based on the panel of 29 HBCUs (from 1988) can be found in tables presented in Appendix F, "Detailed Statistical Tables."

The reader also should keep in mind an important difference between the HBCUs profiled in this chapter and the research-performing colleges and universities discussed in the previous six chapters. HBCUs with any R&D expenditures are included in the sampling universe. The criterion for all other colleges and universities is more restrictive; they must have R&D expenditures of $50,000 or more. Many of the HBCUs discussed in this chapter, then, are predominantly teaching institutions with limited research needs.

Findings

How Much Research Space Did HBCUs Have?

The 68 research-performing HBCUs contained 9.0 million NASF of S&E space in 1996. Slightly over a quarter of this space (2.4 million NASF or 26 percent) was considered to be research space (Table 7-1).

The total amount of S&E space in research-performing HBCUs has fluctuated somewhat since 1992. In that year, HBCUs reported a total of 9.1 million NASF of S&E space. Two years later, those same institutions reported 7.9 million NASF. In 1996, the HBCUs reported 9.0 million NASF of S&E space, an amount close to that reported four years earlier.

The S&E research space also has shifted since 1992, from 2.9 million NASF in that year, to 2.2 million NASF in 1994, to 2.4 million in 1996. S&E research space has declined steadily, from 32 percent to 28 percent to 26 percent in the same three time periods.

In What Fields Did HBCUs Have S&E Research Space?

Like other research-performing colleges and universities, HBCUs were most likely to have S&E research space in the biological sciences outside of medical schools and in the physical sciences. In 1996, 97 percent of the research-performing HBCUs reported they had S&E research space in the biological sciences outside of medical schools. Seventy-nine percent of the HBCUs indicated that they had S&E research space in the physical sciences (Table 7-2).

Compared to all research-performing institutions, the HBCUs were less likely than others in that category to have S&E research space in all fields (excepting the biological sciences outside of medical schools and the agricultural sciences). When compared to nondoctorate-granting institutions (the group most similar to the HBCUs in composition), the HBCUs were less likely to have S&E research space in all fields except the biological sciences outside of medical schools, the agricultural sciences, and mathematics (compare Table 7-2 with Table 1-5).

In 1996, the agricultural sciences dominated the S&E research space, with 595,000 NASF. Similar to other research-performing institutions, the amount of S&E research space in the agricultural sciences was disproportionate to the number of HBCUs that had space in that field; only 26 percent had S&E research space in the agricultural sciences in 1996. The biological sciences outside of medical schools had 393,000 NASF of S&E research space in that same year. Over time, however, the amount of S&E research space in the biological sciences outside of medical schools declined, from 1.1 million NASF in 1992, to 480,000 in 1994, to 393,000 in the most current period. Medical science S&E research space outside of medical schools also declined, from 147,000 NASF in 1992, to 77,000 in 1996 (Table 7-2).

Fields in which S&E research space in HBCUs increased at least 20,000 NASF between 1992 and 1996 include the physical sciences, from 275,000 NASF in 1992, to 352,000 in 1996; engineering, from 302,000 NASF to 364,000 NASF in that time period; and agricultural sciences, from 497,000 to 595,000 NASF.

Did the HBCUs Consider the Amount of S&E Research Space to be Adequate?

In 1996, as in 1994, HBCUs were more likely to report that space in the computer sciences was inadequate than in other S&E fields (Table 7-3). Fifty-seven percent of all HBCUs with S&E research space in the computer sciences indicated in 1996 that the amount of space was inadequate. This percentage declined from 1994, when 79 percent of all HBCUs indicated inadequate space. It should be noted that S&E research space in the computer sciences increased between 1994 and 1996, from 52,000 NASF to 64,000 NASF (Table 7-2).

At least half of the HBCUs reported in 1996 an inadequate amount of S&E research space in engineering (56 percent) and in the biological sciences outside of medical schools (50 percent). Interestingly, the amount of engineering S&E research space increased steadily from 1992, from 302,000 NASF to 364,000 NASF four years later. Biological research space declined dramatically, however, as noted above.

What Was the Condition of Research Space in the HBCUs?

In 1996, 14 percent of the S&E research space in the HBCUs was evaluated as "...requires major renovation or replacement to be used effectively." This amounted to 336,000 NASF. In 1994, 16 percent of the research space, or 352,000 NASF, was evaluated in the same way. Only 8 percent of the S&E research space (232,000 NASF) was thought to require major renovation or replacement in 1992 (Table 7-4).

How Much Construction and Repair of S&E Research Space Have HBCUs Undertaken?

Since 1990-1991, the amount spent to construct S&E research space at the research-performing HBCUs has declined dramatically, from $42.5 million in 1995 constant dollars to $21.3 million in fiscal years 1994-1995. The fields in which HBCUs constructed space varied from year to year. In 1992-1993, for example, the majority of construction (71 percent) occurred in the biological sciences. In fiscal years 1994-1995, the earth, atmospheric, and ocean sciences dominated the construction of S&E research space in HBCUs, with $14.5 million. In the two previous fiscal years, only $1.8 million was spent to construct space in that field (Table 7-5 and Figure 7-1).

In fiscal years 1994-1995, HBCUs spent only slightly more to repair/renovate S&E research space ($22 million) as they did to construct space ($21.3 million). Unlike construction expenditures, repair/renovation expenditures in HBCUs increased from fiscal years 1992-1993, from $9.6 million to $22 million. However, the 1994-1995 repair/renovation expenditures were still lower than those in 1990-1991, when HBCUs spent $24.3 million (Table 7-6).

How Did HBCUs Fund Construction and Repair/Renovation Projects?

Similar to fiscal years 1992-1993, in 1994-1995, HBCUs relied primarily on state and local governments to fund construction projects. In both those years, state and local governments provided more than three-quarters of the total construction funding. In both 1992-1993 and 1994-1995, the Federal government provided 16 percent of construction funding. In fiscal years 1990-1991, however, the Federal government funded 35 percent of construction at HBCUs, and state and local government funded only 48 percent of these projects (Table 7-7).

In 1992-1993 and 1994-1995, the Federal government provided a much larger percentage of the repair/renovation funding to HBCUs than it did construction funding. In fiscal years 1992-1993, 53 percent of the total repair/renovation funding came from the Federal government, and in fiscal years 1994-1995, 47 percent came from that source. In 1990-1991, only 17 percent of all repair/renovation dollars were provided by the Federal government (Table 7-8).

Funding from state and local governments for repair/renovation declined dramatically from fiscal years 1990-1991, in dollars as well as proportions. In 1990-1991, state and local governments provided HBCUs with $20 million (82 percent of all funding) to repair/renovate S&E research facilities. Two years later, funding from state and local governments to HBCUs totaled $2.2 million, only 23 percent of all repair/renovation funding.

What are the S&E Facilities Needs of HBCUs?

HBCUs reported a total of $302 million in S&E capital projects that were needed but had to be deferred because there was not sufficient funding available. These included $196 million in projects to construct S&E research space and $106 million to repair/renovate existing S&E research space. Eighty-two percent of the construction needs and 71 percent of the repair/renovation needs had been identified in institutional plans (Table 7-9).

Doctorate-granting HBCUs accounted for 24 percent of all deferred capital project needs, 31 percent of construction needs and 8 percent of repair/renovation needs.


Footnotes

[1] The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and NSF both used the list developed by White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities to identify HBCUs. The discrepancy in the numbers of HBCUs reported by NCES (105) and NSF (107) results from diffyerences in the way multi-campus institutions were counted. NSF counted each campus of multi-campus institutions as a separate unit; NCES considered multi-campus institutions as single entities.


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