Georgia HBCUs facing unique challenges amid pandemic

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FORT VALLEY, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) — Advocates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities are facing unique challenges through COVID-19.

“It’s impacting minority institutions a bit harder,” Jonathan Swindell CEO of HBCU Hub said.

According to Swindell, after refunding student’s tuition and fees, many HBCU’s are uncertain of what to expect for the fall semester.

“The presidents and the administrators are well- equipped to get over this hurdle, that’s not saying that it’s not going to be difficult,” Swindell said. “That’s not saying it may not be some sleepless nights.”

The transition to online learning brought on additional costs. Alexander Lowe, Fort Valley State University’s SGA President, explained how the changes affect students.

“Being able to go to online instruction when you originally had in-person instruction, which the person setting, is the larger aspect of what makes it so impactful to the students,” said Lowe.

Many HBCU’s do not have a lot of resources to continue the support of institutions, so they must get creative to help students.

“The larger aspect of how HBCUs are handling it, it’s a little bit different of a process because you can’t exactly just reach into the support fund,” Lowe said. “It causes a huge sense of creativity to make the same things that have happened in the past happen currently.”

Administrators are aiming to improve technology-resources for students.

“We are hoping that during this transition, this is another opportunity for Fort Valley State to improve the infrastructure,” Anthony Holloman, Vice President of Advancement said. “I think that it’s one of the biggest challenges that most HBCUs are having.”

As the pandemic continues, the HBCU Hub will help provide resources to the universities and colleges to incoming and returning students this fall.