For generations, historically black colleges and universities have played a key role in educating young African-Americans.
But as enrollment and funding have declined for many of these institutions, the challenges of remaining open have increased. Five such schools have shut down in the last 20 years and about a dozen have had accreditation issues.
South Carolina State University, that state's only public historically black higher education institution, had its accreditation placed on probation last month after the school was cited for financial problems. Last year North Carolina officials considered merging Elizabeth City State University, a public historically black college, with another institution after its enrollment dropped drastically.
Marybeth Gasman, an expert on historically black colleges, says these schools remain important, serving many students who otherwise might not go to college.Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.