The Power of Innovation: How HBCUs Have Succeeded Despite Underfunding
February 16, 2023

HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities, have a long and storied history in America. These higher education institutions were founded to provide education and opportunity to Black Americans at a time when they were excluded from many other institutions of higher education – and are a key driver of U.S. growth, as reported by the McKinsey Global Institute [1]. Despite the important role they play in America's educational system, HBCUs have historically been underfunded and under-resourced.

This lack of resources has been particularly hard on HBCUs, as they have had to compete with other institutions for students, faculty, and resources. This has resulted in a need for innovation from HBCUs, as they have had to find ways to make the most of their limited resources.


One way HBCUs have innovated is in the area of technology. HBCUs have used technology to open up new opportunities for their students, such as online degree programs and hybrid learning models. This has allowed them to compete with larger universities in terms of offering quality education to their students.

HBCUs have also used technology to streamline operations and provide students with access to a wider range of resources. This has allowed them to save money and time, enabling them to focus on providing quality education. EdTech states that HBCUs are “expanding opportunities for learning by embracing virtual reality (VR) and other forms of emerging technology, including participating in the metaverse, an entirely virtual world [2].”


In addition to technology, HBCUs have also used other forms of innovation to ensure their success. For example, many HBCUs have used partnerships with foundations and government entities to increase their resources and expand their reach. In fact, in 2014 the HBCU Innovation and Entrepreneurship Collaborative was formed – funded by Lemelson Foundation, the Lumina Foundation and the Monsanto Corporation. This innovation has enabled HBCUs to build ecosystems to offer students more educational opportunities, as well as access to internships and other professional development opportunities [3].

Despite the challenges HBCUs have faced due to their underfunding, they have been able to use innovation to ultimately succeed. By utilizing technology, partnerships, and other forms of innovation, HBCUs have been able to provide students with quality education and open up new opportunities for them.

Meet Amesite

Amesite is collaborating with the National Association for Equality and Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) to provide key upskilling in technology to HBCUs and PBIs. Most recently, Amesite and NAFEO launched a pilot program for Benedict College in South Carolina to provide key upskilling in technology, including internet protocols, data privacy and security and cloud computing to Benedict learners.

Amesite is leveraging GPT-3, the engine for ChatGPT, on its learning platform, to complement its existing AI capabilities and ultimately provide the best possible experience to learners.