An article in the February/March issue of Forbes Magazine states that NC A&T State University tops the list of Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) when it comes to being underfunded by state governments. 

According to the magazine’s calculations, which compare the funding of HBCU’s with funding for predominately white land-grant schools in the same state since 1987, NC A&T has been underfunded by a whopping $2.8 billion over that 35-year period.

That means that, by Forbes’ calculations, A&T beats out every other HBCU in the nation in the category of a lack of relative funds received from state governments when compared to predominately white colleges and universities in that state. 

The $2.8 billion is far and away the largest underfunded amount the magazine found.

Other schools in the top five underfunded were Florida A&M University ($1.9 billion), Tennessee State University ($1.9 billion), Southern University in Louisiana ($1.3 billion) and Prairie View A&M University in Texas ($1.1 billion.). 

There were only a couple of HBCU’s – Delaware State University and Central State University in Ohio – that were found to have been equitably funded over the years according to the metrics used.

In order to arrive at the number of how much Black land-grant institutions have been underfunded by state governments since 1987, the magazine compared the per-pupil state funding of predominantly white land-grant schools with per-pupil funding of their historically black counterparts. The $2.8 billion in underfunding from the state of North Carolina to NC A&T represents the total amount of money NC A&T would have received over the years had the university gotten funding on an equitable level.

According to the Forbes article, titled How America Cheated Its Black Colleges,” the single worst instance of annual underfunding for any school was in 2020 when the North Carolina legislature appropriated NC A&T $95 million – which was $8,200 less per student than the $16,400 per student the legislature gave to NC State University that year.

In the article, Joyce Payne, the founder of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund that gives grants to students at HBCU’s, called the habitual underfunding of HBCU’s “the highest level of sanctioned discrimination.”