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The Changing Consequences of Attending HBCUs

Using nationally representative data files from 1970s and 1990s college attendees, Roland G. Fryer Jr. and Michael Greenstone find that in the 1970s matriculation at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) was associated with higher wages and increased probability of graduation, relative to attending a traditionally white institution (TWI). By the 1990s, there is a wage penalty resulting in a 20 percent decline in the relative wages of HBCU graduates between the two decades. There is some support for the possibility that the relative decline in wages associated with HBCU matriculation is partially due to improvements in TWIs’ effectiveness at educating blacks.