A Texas-based HBCU has an innovative admissions policy for students and their families: Admit one, get two free.
In other words, Paul Quinn College has revamped its admissions policy to allow qualifying accepted students the privilege of enrolling two family members at no additional cost. Family members can earn an online degree alongside the admitted student or a certification through the school’s new credentialing program, PQCx.
“Your teammates matter,” Paul Quinn College President Michael Sorrell told The Texas Tribune. “If you can invest in your teammates, if you can invest in your village, that makes the village stronger and that improves the odds and opportunities for your village to thrive.”
The university said it believes the new policy is a way to ease what is known as “The Black Tax” – which one financial coach defines as “the obligations of first-in-the-family college graduates, professionals, or others who ‘make it’ to assist their family members.”
In order to qualify for the program, students must have a minimum of a 3.0 grade point average (GPA) and qualify for financial aid.
The new policy, which will be implemented in the upcoming Fall semester, will allow students who qualify to select two additional family members or friends to enroll with them.
It was welcome news for Ke’shawn Rubell, a high school senior who was surprised with admission to Paul Quinn when he visited the campus on Thursday, Feb. 17. Quinn’s mother and brother both had to drop out of college due to extenuating circumstances and he wants to share the “amazing” opportunity with them.
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“My mother was working job to job, and my brother, he was in and out of jail, so it was just me going to school,” Rubell said. “That took a big toll on me. It changed my mindset mentally, knowing that I need to make a change.”
It is a model which Temple University Professor Sara Goldrick-Rab said she believes will be particularly beneficial for close-knit, low-income Black families.
“Bringing people with you who you know makes college a family affair; which, to be honest with you, I think would particularly resonate with African American families who are very close-knit. That is wicked smart,” said Goldrick-Rab, who teaches higher education policy and sociology.
Quinn College President Sorrell’s foresight can help improve retention, Goldrick-Rab added. “He’s recognizing that you can take a student and get them more education. But if the family doesn’t have resources, there is a pull towards home that can bring them down.”
Established by African Methodist Episcopal (AME) preachers in Waco, Texas, in 1872 to educate freed slaves and their families, Paul Quinn is the oldest historically Black college west of the Mississippi River. It relocated to Dallas in 1990.
The college is already known for being innovative in implementing unique educational models, particularly at an HBCU. It is the first HBCU to be an Urban Work College and was one of only eight in the nation as of 2016.
Ke’shawn Rubell said he already feels welcome and looks up to Sorrell after meeting him and speaking with him one-on-one.
“I had told him that ‘You’re going to remember my name, sir,’” Rubell said. “And he was like, ‘I know I am.’ So that right there alone made me feel accepted. The atmosphere was amazing.”
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