By Maria Saporta
When students return to Morehouse College in January after the holidays, their ranks will be down by between 60 and 80 fellow classmates.
Morehouse College President Robert Franklin told the Atlanta Kiwanis Club today that the economy is taking its toll on some of the historically-black college’s most financially vulnerable students.
“Many of our students can’t afford to come back,” Franklin said.
Morehouse College is only one of three private all-male colleges in the United States, and its tuition is about $21,000 a year. (By comparison, there are nearly 35 all-female colleges in the country).
Franklin said Morehouse doesn’t have the resources to provide scholarships so those students can return in January.
“We are able to cover with our relatively modest endowment, some scholarships,” Franklin said. “There are others who have to cobble (their tuition) together.”
Morehouse College has an endowment of about $120 million, about $40 million less than it had at the peak of the market. Franklin said the endowment really should be at $300 million to meet the college’s needs.
“We are now looking at moving to this next capital campaign to try to solve that issue,” Franklin said, adding that the college would need about $35 million more in its endowment just for scholarships.
He did say that the Morehouse board of trustees created a Board Opportunity Fund several years ago to help with scholarships and endowments, but that the $4 million raised was still “awfully inadequate.”
As bad as this year’s numbers look, it actually was worse last year. Franklin said that about 110 students were not able to return to Morehouse College after the fall semester.
Franklin was invited to deliver the Thanksgiving message to Kiwanis. Most of his talk was one of being thankful for what we have, struggles and all. He spoke about how all of us face challenges in life, but that we must learn to be strong in all the broken places.