Atlanta’s HBCUs suffering financially during coronavirus pandemic

ATLANTA — The coronavirus pandemic has hit so many people in the pocket, and historically black colleges and universities say they were hit the hardest.

Many of them rely on money generated from students living on campus.

Atlanta has the highest concentration of HBCUs in the nation.

When the pandemic made officials close the campuses and students headed home, the schools lost a lot of money

“I knew it would come down to a class issue and I just didn’t think that was fair at all for those poor students,” said student Victoria Glapion-Forgier.

Many students couldn’t continue their education at home because they don't have their own computers or access to WiFi.

That’s just one of the reasons why many HBCU students and officials believe the pandemic hit their schools the hardest.

“They were trying to use their phones to turn in assignments and they were falling behind, and the school couldn’t give them the resources fast enough and by the end of the semester, it was too late,” Glapion-Forgier said.

Sending students home to quarantine in March also meant that HBCUs didn’t get money for room and board that they expected.

That was a hard blow for schools who depend on that money.

Alabama state university officials already said they’ve lost millions.

Some of the bigger schools rely on their large endowments when things like this happen, but many HBCUs just don’t have that financial cushion. They rely student enrollment on campus.

Many students told Channel 2’s Tyisha Fernandes they’re feeling uncertain about the fall because school officials haven’t announced if they’ll offer in-person learning yet or not.

“it’s going to divide a lot of people based on class. I really think this is going to be an elitist issue where only the people with money are going to be able to go to school,” Glapion-Forgier said.

Channel 2 Action News reached out to Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta University and asked officials specific questions about the size of their endowments and lack of resources for students learning at home. They have not responded to our question yet.