Colleges suffer in economy

RALEIGH Wednesday, students from some of those schools visited lawmakers at the North Carolina Legislature to remind them that they want their voices heard.

Supporters say historically black schools have been a mainstay in the African American community - opening their doors to black students when other schools wouldn't.

"I think that there are still, many, many students who believe a historically black college is the best environment for them," offered Gwendolyn Bookman, Esq., Associate Provost at the Bennett College for Women

Bennett in Greensboro and St. Augustine in Raleigh are two schools really feeling the economic pinch.

"Schools like Bennett and other small [historically black schools] are very tuition driven, so in an economy when students are not able to get the resources to come to college, you still have drops in enrollment," Bookman explained.

And those drops in enrollment have led to some schools closing their doors. Students at the Legislature don't want that to happen here. They lobbied lawmakers to support bills affecting the future of their schools.

"[We're] advocating for the kinds of legislation that's going to help increase tuition grants to students," said Bookman. "I think financial aid is going to be key."

They want a piece of the economic stimulus budget pie.

"The main priority - what are you going to do with this new money that's coming in and I have faith education will be a top priority," said Hashim Wallace with St. Augustine.

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