The Black Excel Newsletter

                             January, 2002

The Black Excel African American Student's College Guide is now on sale at for $13.96. "This book will have a rallying impact on our aspiring college students."  -Isaac Black,  Black Excel Founder and Author


(1) Top 10 "Best Black-College Web Sites"
(2) Smith College Summer Science and Engineering  Program
(3) Profiles of Outstanding African American Admits (a call to law students and graduates)
(4) The "Black Colleges Closing" Controversy: A 2002 Update
(5) Black Excel Webmaster Publishes Third World Anthology

     Top 10 "Best Black-College Web Sites"

In October of 2001, the "Digital Learning Lab" at Howard
University published its findings of "best Web sites" after a survey/study of 103 historically black colleges and universities.  The final ratings, intended to help HBCUs use Web technologies more effectively, were based on an evaluation of 22 target areas. 65 of the colleges failed the survey's "two clicks" test, which indicated that topics like financial aid, directories, and libraries were more that a couple of clicks away from each site's home
page. Only 37 of the sites had search functions, and only 24 had site maps, which make navigating and finding info easier.  For more on the "Archimedes Project" results/rankings, go to:

The "10 Best HBCU Websites" (in order of effectiveness for the HUgroup are):

1. Tennessee State U.
2. Spelman College
3. Howard University
4. Morgan State University
5. Southern University A&M College
6. Norfolk State University
7. Morehouse College
8. University of Maryland at Eastern Shore
9. St. Philips College
10. North Carolina A&T University

            Smith College Summer Science
                And Engineering  Program

This is one of those summer programs (June 30 to July 27, 2002) that is generally beyond our reach because of the expense. Still, partial to full financial aid is available to a limited number of participants and awarded solely on the basis of demonstrated financial need.  This is a four-week residential program for exceptional young women with strong interests in science, engineering and medicine. Female students in grades 9-12 are eligible to apply.  We recommend that you check the website for expense/details.  Over 50% of the applicants do get aid of some level.  Deadlines: March 1 (early) or May  15 (regular) admission.  For a brochure and application, call 413-585-3060 or log on to for an overview.  E-mail: a_summer@smith_college

AMERICAN ADMITS (A call to law students
                        and graduates)

Evangeline Mitchell, J.D., Ed.M., the author of The African American Pre-Law School Advice Guide, is looking for law students and JD graduates of color to include in her second book.  Her goal is to profile our scholars and their success stories.  The book will serve as a model/roadmap on how to prepare for and gain admission to law school.  Students interested in being profiled in this new book should write Ms. Mitchell at for details and checkout Selected students will have their profiles and a photograph featured. A copy of a resume, listing of accomplishments, and perhaps a short narrative write-up might be required. The key is to project what you did prior to law school to make you a competitive admissions candidate.

        The "Black Colleges Closing" Controversy:
                                A 2002 Update

Several years ago, there were rampant Internet posts circulating that stated that over a dozen Black colleges were closing because of loan default rates. Some said the problem was "exaggerated" due to presidential election politics. Still, some HBCUs were on a "watch list" because of default rates that were too high. Interestingly, for much of the 1990s, HBCUs had a blanket exemption, despite problems. In 1998, however, Congress enacted legislation that took away our protection. A list of schools that didn't meet specific payback percentages were signaled out and theoretically in danger of losing their federal aid/loan support. There was concern, because a HBCU cannot attract students or sustain itself financially without government help. Hence the "closing" posts were troubling.  The original list of HBCUs with default problems included:

1. Allen Univ. (Columbia, SC)
2. Arkansas Baptist College (Little Rock, AK)
3. Barber-Scotia College (Concord, NC)
4. Central State Univ. (Wilberforce, OH)
5. Houston-Tillotson College (Austin, TX)
6. Jarvis Christian College (Hawkins, TX)
7. Lane College (Jackson, TN)
8. Mary Holmes College (West Point, MS)
9. Miles College (Birmingham, AL)
10. Paul Quinn College (Dallas, TX)
11. Southwestern Christian College (Terrell, TX)
12. Texas College (Tyler, TX)
13. Texas Southern Univ. (Houston, TX)
14. Wiley College (Marshall, TX)

In March 2000, the HBCUs were given waivers with time to produce "acceptable" plans to the Dept. of Education to reduce default rates. They did. Now, based on late-1999 data, no HBCU is in danger of losing federal support due to high default rates.  HBCUs implemented or improved "debt counseling." Indeed, there had been major success stories.  The default rate at HBCU Jarvis Christian College in Texas, for example, dropped by 300 percent during  1997 to 1999 (from 21.7% to 6.7%).  HBCUs with strong default rates have also improved.  Hampton went from a default rate of 11.1 to 6.0. Spelman went from 5.0 to 1.7.

(This overview is based on Dept. of Ed data and info reported in  Black Issues in Higher Education, Oct 11, 2001 v18 i17 p8(1))

            Black Excel Webmaster Publishes
                    Third World Anthology

Black Excel's webmaster, Thomas J. Hubschman, has edited a great new anthology called The Best of Gowanus: New Writing from African, Asia and the Caribbean. The book features writers from all over the so-called Third World. A collection of essays, short stories and poetry (praised by Publishers Weekly [May 21, 2001]), it is considered an excellent classroom resource by educators and librarians from Berkeley to Brooklyn. It can be purchased at Barnes & Noble or from (at a substantial discount for $12.56). Visit for more info, bulk rates, etc. or email

(Information provided by Isaac Black, Founder, Black Excel:
The College Help Network.)
        The Black Excel African American Student's College Guide,
by Black Excel Founder Isaac Black,
is now on sale at for $13.96.