HBCUs: Another Online Option

Back in April the College Guide looked into Latimer Education, the company working to create a for-profit college designed specifically for black students. Another entrepreneur is now working to create a specifically black online college experience. According to a piece by Marlon Walker in Diverse Issues in Higher Education:

Launched by radio personality and longtime HBCU booster Tom Joyner, HBCUsOnline is one of two new enterprises [the other is Latimer] seeking to tap into the lucrative online adult higher education market. The mission of Joyner’s for-profit educational services company is to help HBCU partners increase their market share, enrollment and revenue through marketing to Joyner’s morning show audience — 8 million listeners — and to provide other technical assistance to help them offer degree programs online.

Or, as the article headline put it, it’s about “Conveying the Black College Experience into Distance Learning.” There are currently about 700,000 black adults every year with some college credits looking to earn their bachelor’s degrees. Because they mostly work full time, however, they mostly end up attending for-profit schools. Joyner wants to change that. His new venture will help connect working adults to HBCUs with online programs.

This is a little questionable. The essence of the black college experience probably has everything to do with being on a real campus with other black students, professors, and administrators. It’s unclear how HBCUs plan to transmit their unique black college experience to online programs.

HBCUsOnline is a for-profit venture, though Joyner will partner with traditional schools. Joyner’s investing $7 million in the venture. He has not explained how he plans to actually make money off this particular scheme.

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Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer