The impact of COVID-19 on HBCUs and Black students

While the world has been focused on the growing numbers of COVID-19 causalities, the media has somewhat ignored the long-term educational and economic impacts of the pandemic – especially for Black students. Although there has been some attention given to the disparities between Black Americans and other groups contracting the virus, it is not an exaggeration to say that the Black community will be recovering from the impact of COVID-19, health wise, economically, and educationally for at least the next two decades.

Throughout the pandemic, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been on the front lines addressing the impact the pandemic has had on students, faculty, staff and surrounding communities. In March 2020, when college campuses across the country closed and sent students home, many HBCUs continued to house hundreds of students who did not have homes to return to. Groups of students were stuck on campus without the funds to pay for transportation back to their home cities. This challenge was a byproduct of several students losing the jobs they used to help fund their education, along with loss of family income. Many students became both food and housing insecure without the critical resources that HBCUs often provide.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) worked with our member-schools—America’s 47 publicly-supported HBCUs—and many of their corporate partners to help secure access to needed support for students. Beyond academic scholarships, TMCF stepped up to help provide grants for students, assisting them with rent, groceries, and transportation. At one HBCU, more than half of the students and faculty did not have the adequate computer hardware or broadband internet access to participate in remote classes. Corporate partners supported the purchasing of laptops and hotspots for both students and faculty to facilitate the pivot to online learning.

Despite their long history and accolades, HBCUs as a collective have continued to struggle with proper funding, receiving less per-student aid from their states, along with less research funding from the federal government. These institutions are highly tuition dependent, which can cause a great challenge anytime enrollment numbers are compromised. Closing campuses and sending students home meant that many schools had to return housing funds that traditionally would have supported the university’s operations. Recognizing the great infringement that the pandemic placed on the schools, we shifted part of our focus of providing scholarships and career readiness opportunities to work with HBCUs to provide support restructuring their finances, securing new resources, and planning for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years.

Part of the shift also included engaging corporate partners to help find new and creative ways to help students succeed in this environment. For example, McDonald’s expanded their partnership with TMCF in 2020 to provide additional scholarships beyond their original commitment for HBCU students. This commitment extended in 2021 to support students who overwhelming were high-achieving performers but came from low-income backgrounds and needed the extra support during this unprecedented time. As a non-profit committed to the advancement of Black students, we understand that the best way to address disparities is to invest in students so they can persist in their studies, graduate, and progress to economically sustainable careers.

We also partnered with our member-schools to provide enhanced mental health resources to help students address the emotional needs that may have emerged as a result of the changing landscape of the world. Among other amenities, TMCF scholars were offered access to Shine, a minority-owned mobile app which offers self-care resources to better manage mental health challenges like stress and anxiety.

The resilience of Black students in the face of the pandemic further illustrates the importance of HBCUs for engaging the Black community. Though the pandemic has presented extraordinary challenges in the last two years, HBCUs have emerged even stronger. While many colleges had steep drops in enrollment during the pandemic, HBCUs experienced the exact opposite. Many of the country’s largest HBCUs are seeing record numbers of applications. The COVID-19 crisis inspired a new approach to working together as a network and building new capabilities in online learning, student retention and attraction, and more. This has only strengthened HBCUs’ unique position to help fill the social and economic gaps Black Americans experience, given these institutions’ assets, experience, and cultural and historical significance.

As a legacy corporate partner, McDonald’s stepped up to support HBCU students because of their longstanding commitment to supporting the Black community and empowering the next generation by creating opportunity through educational initiatives. Today, we call on other major corporations to do the same – address inequities by investing in diverse students, who are posed to be the next generation of changemakers. Their journey to leadership starts with a college degree, and with the proper resources that degree can come from an HBCU.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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