Are historically black colleges and universities losing their niche?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution raised that question Sunday in an article that cited some troubling trends.

In 1977, the newspaper said, 35 percent of all bachelor’s degrees awarded to black students came from HBCUs. But by 2002, that share had fallen to 22 percent.

“In the days of segregation, African-American students had limited options. Now, with a wide range of choices, only 13 percent of African-American college students are enrolled in HBCUs,” the AJC reported.

The article quoted students such as Mark Gamble of Columbus, Ga., who said he “embraced the diversity” at Georgia State University, where about 60 percent of the students are white, 26 percent African-American, and the rest are other ethnicities or identify themselves as multiracial.

“I like being around whites, blacks, Asians and all the other minorities,” Gamble, a sophomore film major, was quoted as saying.

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