Investing in a more equitable future with HBCUs & HSIs
Capital One is partnering with HBCUs and HSIs as part of our efforts to address racial disparities.
September 13, 2022 5 min read
Higher education institutions in the U.S. that gave opportunities to Black students in the 19th century, and were formally rolled into the group known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the 1960s, are still today leaders in advocating for students who may be underrepresented or underserved at higher education institutions. In the 1980s, Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) were first recognized as institutions that served a large concentration of Hispanic students. However, it wasn’t until 1992 that Congress officially recognized HSIs and began allocating funds to them.
Both institution types offer resources and opportunities for disadvantaged populations who have faced and continue to face undue hardships in society. HBCUs and HSIs are working to help narrow health and wealth disparities by expanding access to quality education for these populations, which gives them tools and resources that help them succeed.
The importance of investing in HBCUs and HSIs
Capital One believes in creating a more equitable future for all. HBCUs and HSIs provide targeted support and expanded opportunities for some of society's most neglected and oppressed populations. To help these populations overcome the vast challenges they face, HBCUs and HSIs provide a supportive, safe environment that helps students succeed and may help eliminate educational disparities.
Despite their significance, HBCUs and HSIs are often underfunded and lack key infrastructure, such as long-term recruitment partnerships. In line with our goal for a more equitable future, Capital One has focused on supporting HBCUs, HSIs and their students.
Capital One's investments in equitable futures
Since launching the Impact Initiative in 2020, Capital One has partnered with 11 HBCUs and HSIs, including Xavier University, Spelman College and Paul Quinn College. Capital One invests to meet each institution's unique needs and build student connections, offering early engagement opportunities and on-campus events like career development training.
At Paul Quinn College, the oldest HBCU in Texas, Capital One provided grants and internships to students and in 2021, donated a riverfront property in Wilmington, DE, to Delaware State University, allowing the university to return to the city. Capital One also quadrupled new hires from HBCUs and HSIs, and in 2022, the US Black Engineer magazine named Capital One in the Top 20 supporters of HBCU engineering schools.
Roundtable discussion: Listening to voices for change
In July 2022, Capital One's associate-led Middle Market Bank Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) Council hosted a roundtable discussion about supporting HBCUs and HSIs, with several key speakers in attendance. They included:
- Jason Andrean: Discussion Moderator. Jason is a relationship manager with the Aerospace, Defense and Government Contracting team.
- Terrance Bowman: Capital One's Director of Students and Grads Diversity, Early Engagement and Partnerships
- Nyla Walker: Spelman College graduate, 2-time summer intern for Capital One Commercial Bank before joining the Commercial Rotation Program, and now one of Capital One's lead recruiters for Howard University, Spelman College and the University of Puerto Rico
- Ifencia Succes: Student at Howard University and participant in Capital One's Management Internship Program
- Carlos Sandoval: Student at University of Puerto Rico–Mayagüez and participant in Capital One's Analyst Early Internship Program
- Jorge Calderon: Capital One MMB Regional Commercial Bank Executive—DFW, Market President, and University of Puerto Rico alumnus
The roundtable aimed to facilitate a robust conversation on diversity recruitment and retention efforts to learn how Capital One can better provide beneficial experiences and opportunities for Black and Hispanic individuals.
"HBCUs as a whole are very relationship-driven," Bowman said, in response to a question about the importance of tailored HBCU recruiting, "and want to make sure companies coming to campus are authentic."
Walker emphasized a singular approach for each institution. "Every campus is different and has a different culture," she said. "Leaning in, listening and providing the right opportunities and resources, versus just sending money, speaks volumes and shows a true investment and interest in the university and students."
HBCUs and HSIs roundtable discussion key takeaways
- Employers are showing a positive shift toward outcomes versus vague "interest." Calderon's long-term experience in the industry has allowed him to see the progress being made. "Before, companies were interested in diversity, but now they're serious about diversity outcomes. At Capital One, our actions have really driven positive outcomes regarding diversity and equitable opportunities."
- Diversity recruitment should take an authentic, human-centric approach. Bowman said that HBCUs are relationship-driven and they want to ensure those coming to campus to recruit, offer support to students or otherwise partner with the school are genuine. The significance of this is reiterated by intern, Ifencia Succes. Recruiters "should care about the applicant as a whole person and not just a way to meet numbers," she said. "Supporting the school (HBCU or HSI) is essential, too."
- Employers should offer opportunities for growth and learning. Sandoval accepted an internship at Capital One because of the range of experiences offered, which he said will make him a stronger candidate in his future career. This was seconded by Succes, who said, "I want to learn as much as possible, as opposed to being limited to a specific area immediately. At Capital One, you're able to move around different roles and experiences."
Staying committed to racial equity
Capital One's Impact Initiative represents a 5-year, $200 million investment aimed at closing gaps in racial equity. In line with this initiative, Capital One has more than 13 HBCU and HSI partnerships throughout the nation, including UNCF and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Capital One has also partnered with more than 17 national organizations like AFROTECH, Out For Undergrad and SHPE.
Capital One plans to continue efforts to support underserved communities in and outside of the organization by providing meaningful investments, donations and opportunities for those who need them most.
Capital One has partnered with 11 HBCUs and HSIs since 2020
- North Carolina A&T University
- Florida A&M University
- Florida International University
- Prairie View A&M University
- Paul Quinn College
- Delaware State University
- Xavier University of Louisiana
- Southern University and A&M College
- Spelman College
- Howard University
- University of Puerto Rico
Learn more about our commitments.