This is unusual. This is good!
Spend a few minutes online googling “HBCU” and you will find articles that are quick to address the financial woes faced by many of these colleges and universities. So to see the news that Delaware State University, affectionately known as Del State, is financially sound enough to be purchasing Wesley College, is really exciting news. Don’t let the well publicized financial challenges fool you though because HBCUs have consistently produced successful college graduates for almost 200 years.
About Delaware State University
Del State is the only higher education institution in Delaware that is designated as a Historically Black College or University. It was established as the Delaware College for Colored Students in 1891. Del State currently has four undergraduate colleges with 17 academic departments offering 42 bachelor’s, 18 master’s and five doctoral degrees. Enrollment has ballooned over the last several years and Del State now serves just over 5000 students. The school actively engages African American students who enroll from all across the globe and have specific programs targeting other underrepresented groups in the United States, including Dreamers. US News reports that 79% of Del State’s students receive some type of financial aid.
About Wesley College
This small liberal arts college is located in Dover, Delaware about five minutes from Delaware State University. It was established in 1873 and sits on 50-acres in the historic part of the city. The main campus has a library, almost two dozen academic buildings and recreational facilities. No decisions have been shared at this time regarding how Del State will utilize the space. The campus offers 30+ areas of study in arts and sciences. The school has struggled financially in the last several years and has a current enrollment of just over 1100 students. Ninety-eight percent of full-time students receive financial aid including scholarships, institutional grants, federal and state grants, student loans, work-study, and on-campus employment.
As is typical for these kinds of acquisitions, the announcement always precedes the details. For example, Del State has not yet decided how the Wesley College campus will be used in a larger university plan, if the faculty and staff of Wesley College will be hired and what academic programs will look like for fall 2021. Over the next year, the two schools will work out the details.