Coppin State University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore are taking significant steps to improve access to higher education for students from states with limited or no historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
Under a new policy set to begin in the fall of 2024, first-time undergraduate students hailing from 29 U.S. states and four territories will be eligible for in-state tuition rates at these institutions.
This initiative aims to tackle a persistent challenge faced by out-of-state students who often find it financially challenging to stay enrolled due to the higher tuition costs they incur.
Anthony Jenkins, president of Coppin State, initiated the policy after observing low retention rates among out-of-state students at his institution. He found that, on average, these students depleted their financial aid by their junior year.
To address this disparity, Jenkins proposed offering in-state tuition to students from states with fewer HBCUs, thus creating greater pathways for them to access an urban HBCU experience.
University initiatives and expansion plans
This move is part of a comprehensive strategy to enhance student enrollment and retention at Coppin State.
The university has recently launched initiatives like the Eagle Achievement Center, a comprehensive student support hub, and plans to build a new student residence hall in the near future to meet increasing demand.
At the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, the policy is expected to further contribute to enrollment growth, which has seen positive trends in recent years.
The decision to offer in-state tuition rates to out-of-state students reflects a broader national trend in higher education.
While these policies can help institutions boost enrollment, there are also potential financial risks involved. Offering discounts to out-of-state students could lead to substantial revenue losses if enrollment doesn’t keep pace with the discounts.
Nonetheless, these institutions believe that the benefits of expanding access to an HBCU education outweigh the potential challenges, particularly as HBCUs are experiencing increased demand across the country.