Missouri’s HBCUs Face Challenges Keeping Pace In Higher Education


Waiel Turner, 20, was not planning on going to college. He thought about entering the U.S. Air Force or becoming a police officer for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Enrolling at Harris-Stowe State University was strictly by happenstance.

In 2017, he accompanied a friend to the campus near Grand Center where she was registering for classes. An admissions counselor told Turner he should enroll. Two days later, Turner became a college student.

Turner said it is the family environment that makes Harris-Stowe home for him. Like many historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), Harris-Stowe is struggling to keep its tight-knit family of students and staff together in the face of shaky finances and relative lack of state resources.

“Everything here is razor thin,” said Brian Huggins, Harris-Stowe State University’s chief financial officer. “Every operating budget is barebones; every departmental budget is barebones, meaning there is no fat. At Harris-Stowe, you have to do 10 jobs because we can’t afford to hire the three other people needed to do those other jobs.” Check out the full story.

By Andrea Henderson, St. Louis Public Radio

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