Edwards Waters College in Jacksonville among HBCUs seeing growth

It’s a moment 18-year-old Micheaila Jones won’t soon forget.

“I was just so happy,” she said. “I was like, this is a dream.”

She and 45 students were on a bus trip to Alabama to tour historically black colleges and universities.

One stop, her dream school – Alabama State University.


That’s where she got the news -- she had been accepted.

“She looked at my test scores and she was like, ‘Congratulations you made it into the school’ and she gave me this letter,” Jones said. “I was like, Oh my God. This is amazing. I don’t know what to do.’”

Jones’ excitement is spreading across the nation. According to federal data, enrollment is up 2.1 percent at HBCUs from 2016 to 2017.

Jacksonville’s Edward Waters College says it has seen a 2.5 percent increase since 2016 – FAMU says enrollment is also up on campus.

“The only way that you’re going to make your mark in this world -- you have to be educated first because that’s your first key,” Kenneth Pinnix of 100 Black Men of Jacksonville said.

The group mentors students and invites them on bus tours to HBCUs each year.

The trips also serve as a history lesson.

“It's important for our youth to know their past so they can prepare for the future in a very positive and meaningful way,” Pinnix said.

Pinnix and Jones are both encouraging students to take advantage of opportunities at HBCUs and beyond.

“It just makes you feel at home. It’s a different vibe, a different feeling and I would encourage everybody to go to their dream school,” Jones said.

It’s a journey she said she can’t wait to embark on.

You can learn more about 100 Black Men of Jacksonville and their work with youth on their website.

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