Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Barbara S Rieckhoff


Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have always impacted the education of African Americans. Their mission was always grounded in educating Black Americans during a time when laws and segregation prevented that from happening. HBCUs have a historic responsibility as the primary providers of post-secondary education for African Americans in a social environment of racial discrimination (Johnson, 2019). By the turn of the century, there was a shift in blacks being educated solely by HBCU’s. In 1950 most, black students attended an HBCU but by 1975 it was only 25%, and in 2015 only 9% of black students were enrolled in an HBCU (Johnson, 2019). Black students now have choices when deciding on which college or university to attend and are no longer limited to just HBCU’s. Despite the enrollment trends, HBCUs are still surviving and students are still choosing to enroll. There are many factors that contribute to the decision to attend an HBCU, such as reputation of school, scholarship opportunities, and alumni engagement. Racial identity is an influential factor that impacts a student’s decision to attend an HBCU. Spurgeon and Myers use W.E Cross’s definition of racial identity as an “individual’s personal characteristics shared across gender, race, ethnicity and culture and the cultural norms that connect groups of people” (2008). Racial identity is developed though socialization which is exemplified using media images. This form of socialization impacts a student’s self-image thus contributing to the factors and reasoning they choose to attend an HBCU.