Obama comments to Southern U student set off debate on president and black colleges

Every HBCU is different, and some are quite good. The question of what to do about the others is… fraught.

Obama also said that “some HBCUs are having trouble with graduation rates. And that is a source of concern. And what we’ve said to those HBCUs is we want to work with you, but we don’t want a situation in which young people are taking out loans, getting in debt, thinking that they’re going to get a great education and then halfway through they’re dropping out.”

The president acknowledged that one reason some black colleges have lower graduation rates than other institutions is that “HBCUs may be taking chances on some kids that other schools might not. And that’s a positive thing, and that has to be taken into account.” But Obama added that “we also have to make sure that colleges — any college, HBCU or non-HBCU — take seriously the need to graduate that student and not load them up with debt.”

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