Historically Black Alabama Community Colleges Join Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The six schools in Alabama will become the first community colleges to join the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, opening up a host of scholarship opportunities for students.
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Published on June 15, 2023
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  • Six historically Black community colleges in Alabama are joining the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.
  • The Thurgood Marshall College Fund supports historically Black colleges and universities with scholarships and other funding opportunities.
  • The schools will be the first community colleges to join the fund.

Alabama's six historically Black community colleges will be the first community colleges to join the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), school officials announced last week, a move that will mean more scholarship opportunities for students.

The induction of community colleges into the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that supports dozens of historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) across the United States, will mean students have access to a host of new scholarship and professional development opportunities, according to a press release from the Alabama Community College System.

The Thurgood Marshall College Fund has to date provided more than $300 million in scholarships and other support funding to its members, according to the release.

The addition of community colleges to the Thurgood Marshall College Fund will increase access to the nonprofit's scholarships and programs, TMCF President and CEO Harry L. Williams said in the release.

"Adding community colleges to our membership is part of an intentional move toward a more inclusive talent strategy. A four-year degree is one path but not the only path to career success."

The six historically Black community colleges to join the fund are:

  • Bishop State Community College in Mobile
  • Drake State Community and Technical College in Huntsville
  • Gadsden State Community College in Gadsden
  • Lawson State Community College in Birmingham
  • Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa
  • Trenholm State Community College in Montgomery

Historically Black community colleges "play a critical role in local and regional economic development by offering workforce upskilling and reskilling programs," Williams said in the release, noting that the schools also help students get credits to transfer to four-year institutions.

Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy H. Baker said in the release that the partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund will help community colleges connect with residents and provide key training opportunities.

"Alabama's community colleges exist to be a pillar of community for students of all backgrounds to be able to have the resources to reach success, and these national relationships help bolster the advantages and access students have to significant opportunities that support their pursuit of excellence," Baker said.

HBCUs educate roughly 10% of all Black students, BestColleges previously reported, and serve as critical points of access to higher education in their communities. HBCUs have also been shown to help close socioeconomic gaps, boosting social mobility among their students more effectively than other institutions.