Diverse Conversations: Is a 4.0 at an HBCU the Same as a 4.0 at a PWI? - Higher Education: Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have an important tradition in the United States. It’s not necessarily a straightforward tradition, but it’s one with which we still grapple.
One of the biggest struggles, perhaps, is the equalizing of values, of recognition and importance. The problem addressed in this interview—my interview with George Johnson, student accounts manager at Georgetown University and a graduate of two HBCUs—is that of academic weight. Does a 4.0 at an HBCU have the same value as a 4.0 at a predominantly White institution?
Q: The first question, then, is one that seeks to generalize. Generally speaking, does a 4.0 at an HBCU have the same value as a 4.0 at a PWI? If not, why not?
A: Generally speaking, a 4.0 at an HBCU does have the same value as a 4.0 at a PWI. I say this because a 4.0 simply means you were able to master the subject being studied with the highest grade possible for the requirements of the degree or course. If we use the old adage of “2 + 2 = 4,” then in general terms a 4.0 is a 4.0 is a 4.0. I say that because the true debate is not if it has the same value, but is the criteria required to receive a 4.0 more arduous at a PWI versus an HBCU. To date, there is no real scientific evidence to prove or disprove this theory.