INDIANAPOLIS—Lumina Foundation today announced grants totaling almost $2 million to five Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina and five other partners committed to ensuring Black adults earn college degrees and other credentials.

The universities were chosen from among proposals Lumina solicited and received earlier this year. Selected HBCUs will implement changes that remove institutional barriers and establish new or expanded existing efforts to support Black adult students.

The five grantees are Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, Shaw University in Raleigh, and Winston-Salem State University. Each will receive $175,000 to support work with adult students of color during the next 22 months. Additional Lumina money will go toward providing technical assistance, consultants, and evaluation.

Grantees were selected for their innovative, student-centered pathways efforts, support for adults, and demonstrated commitment to racially equitable just student success.

“We are excited to partner with this group of HBCUs on accelerating their success strategies for Black adults,” said Jasmine Haywood, Lumina’s strategy director for student success. “With longstanding histories of serving Black adults, we know that our collaboration with these leading HBCUs will ensure that they are essential to helping their state meet its goal of 2 million North Carolinians achieving college degrees or other quality credentials beyond a high school diploma by 2030.”

Lumina Vice President Debra Humphreys added: “As Lumina works to ensure fair and just access to a college education, we want to support today’s students, who are older and more racially diverse. These HBCUs offer enriching educational experiences Black students need and deserve.”

  • Elizabeth City State University will develop Adult-Centered Student Services geared toward comprehensive supports such as life and career planning, technology support, and the creation of a living-learning community for adults.
  • Fayetteville State University will use data to improve student outcomes such as credit accumulation, retention, and graduation rates for adults by improving credit transfer for military students and adults coming from community colleges.
  • Johnson C. Smith University will create an integrated campus services environment that is adult-learner friendly.
  • Shaw University will revise credit for prior learning policies at the university, with the aim of removing barriers and shortening time to completion.
  • Winston-Salem State University will launch a degree completion program tailored for adults with services that enhance academic outcomes, professional development, and personal growth.

To build this initiative, Lumina leaned on advice from former HBCU presidents and HBCU scholars. Dr. Steve D. Mobley, Jr. and Dr. Krystal L. Williams will provide important counsel and insights over the next two years. Dr. Nadrea Njoku of the United Negro College Fund’s (UNCF) Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute will lead the program’s evaluation. Dr. Kathy Thompson and her team will provide technical assistance. And journalist Autumn Arnett will give progress reports, and tell the stories of Black adults at HBCUs more broadly.

A kickoff convening is scheduled 9 a.m. to Noon EDT, Oct. 4. Morgan State University President David Wilson, a Lumina board member, will keynote the event. Registration is free.

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