Morgan State University, one of Maryland’s historically black colleges, expects to see largest incoming class on record; and admissions officials cite a number of reasons for this.
Morgan State University, one of Maryland’s historically black colleges and universities, or HBCU, expects to see largest incoming class on record; and admissions officials cite a number of reasons for this.
More than 14,600 students have applied to Morgan State for admission for the fall semester of 2021. This represents an increase of nearly 59% in the number of applications received last year. Morgan State traditionally welcomes between 1,600 and 1,800 students each year.
Dr Kara Turner, vice president of enrollment management at Morgan State, said the Black Lives Matter movement has certainly played a role in growing admissions.
She said the school posted a message on the campus marquee that read, “Morgan State University – Where Black Lives Always Mattered.”
Turner said that message resonated on and off campus.
“It’s so powerful,” she says. “Every time I see him, it gives me chills.”
George Floyd’s death may have sparked broader fairness action, but Turner noted that Floyd’s death was one of the deaths among a string of black Americans in custody.
“Students are looking for this place where they feel they will be safe, where they will be physically safe, where they will be safe mentally and psychologically.
Turner said students look for a campus environment “that will feel rewarding and welcoming. And so definitely, I think that plays a big role.
But there is another factor – what Turner calls the “Kamala Harris effect”. Vice President Kamala Harris graduated from Howard University, a historically black university in DC
“I think you see the Kamala Harris effect is real for all HBCUs,” Turner said.
While Harris toured the Howard University campus and spoke about his years at that school, Turner said it raised the profile of all HBCUs.
“She made it clear that she was proud to graduate from HBCU,” Turner said.
There are other things that make HBCUs in Maryland, including Morgan State, attractive to prospective students – passing a law that provides HBCUs with $ 577 million.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who initially opposed the legislation, signed the bill.
The legislation ends a legal struggle that began when the HBCUs sued the state, alleging systemic inequality in funding and programming decisions that disadvantage the state’s four HBCUs.
The money will be rolled out over a decade and will allow schools to improve scholarships, programs and staffing. In the first year, Morgan State will receive $ 24 million.
There has also been an infusion of funding from major donors.
“We are one of the beneficiaries of the MacKenzie Scott scholarshipTurner said. “So we got $ 40 million from her, you know, we got a lot of exposure on that.”
Scott is a philanthropist and the former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
Calvin Tyler, philanthropist and Morgan State alumnus, donated $ 20 million at school.
Turner notes that the surge in applications is also representative of a trend that has been seen across all colleges and universities. High schoolers today tend to apply to many schools – not just their dream campus and a few safe schools.
Turner believes that using apps, such as Common Application, is part of the reason for the increase in applicant numbers that many schools are seeing. They allow students to apply to multiple schools more easily and inexpensively.
“Students and parents are very price conscious, and they want to make sure they have options and can see who is offering them the best assistance program,” Turner said.
It can also be a way to establish bragging rights, a bit of a social media flex.
Turner recalls a student who posted on her Facebook page that she was admitted to Morgan State, the 30th school she was admitted to.
“And I saw another one that had a picture of herself – a really nice picture of herself – with all of her admission letters in front of her, and there were 65 of them. So you see. really students apply in a lot more places, ”Turner said.