The Internet is increasingly becoming one of the more important parts of our lives. Many of us make money, meet friends, and go to school all from the comfort of our homes, but so far, Black Colleges have been missing out on the boom.

According to the American Council of Education, African-American students make up only 12 percent of those enrolled in colleges and universities, but comprise 21 percent of those attending for-profit universities, many of which offer classes online.

So far, the HBCU Internet presence has been limited to social networks and university websites. Unlike other universities, HBCUs have been slow to offer online courses and degrees. Today nearly 4,500 universities offer online degrees, however, only 10 percent of historically Black colleges have web-based degree programs.

With enrollment and retention rates at HBCUs declining, some see offering degrees online as a way to help more students attain their degrees, while reclaiming some of them from for-profit colleges.

Popular radio host Tom Joyner believes in moving Black colleges online and putting his money where his mouth is. He’s invested $7 million to start HBCUsOnline.com, a site that promises personal guidance to Black students “from registration to graduation.”

To date, Hampton University (an online pioneer in it’s own right) and Texas Southern have signed on to partner with Joyner’s organization. And Joyner’s son, who is heading HBCUsOnline.com, is optimistic about the partnership.

“Combining our marketing resources, we stand a much better chance of establishing a presence in the online market space,” Tom Joyner Jr. said to The Associated Press.

Although there is some question as to whether the Black college experience can transfer to an online environment, many are excited about more students having access to HBCUs and the degrees they need to compete in the global marketplace.

What do you think about online education? Would you attend a HBCU online? You tell us!

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  • Not sure how I feel about this. Academia has so far poo-pooed online education and so have many reputable work places.

  • chillchic

    I think it’s a great idea as long as all of the classes aren’t online. Many colleges offer online courses in addition to their on campus work (I’m talking about real colleges NOT Devry, Univ. of phoenex, etc.). It’s good for students who may have a full plate during a semester and employers never have to know that you took classes online.

    • Yes, I know that alot of colleges are offering their classes online – but not to sound like an elitist or anything – it’s a movement that has not yet been embraced by tier one colleges and for good reason (except for the random spattering of free classes from the Ivy league that are offered to the public but count for ABSOLUTELY nothing). The results are still out as to whether online classes add value to education – so far it’s leaning towards a no. In fact, for the most part, online education gets a FAIL in my opinion. I feel displaying a bunch of online classes on your transcript may cripple black applicants from accessing competitive jobs.
      Online classes are definitely NOT the panacea to the black educational crisis.
      The fact that black students are underrepresented in traditional college classrooms but overrepresented in online classrooms should hint that increasing online options (to the neglect of traditional ones) is a BAD idea. The fact that the face of this push is radio jockey, Tom Joyner, doesn’t help matters.

  • EmpressDivine

    I actually think it’s a good move. A lot of HBCUs that are not considered “elite” (Spelman, Morehouse, Howard, Xavier) are not able to retain students because students can’t afford to go. More people will have access to a college education. I don’t see how this will hurt. If you couldn’t afford to go before and online classes were your only option, I don’t see where the fail comes in. It’s better to have an online degree than no degree at all.