Photo by Peter Cade/Getty

Just last month, Bennett College, one of two existing women-only HBCUs was fighting to stay open due to financial instability, and now they can hope no longer! Yesterday, the school announced that it raised $8.2 million through several donors and a large, last-minute contribution from High Point University in North Carolina, according to WXII. The original financial goal to keep their accreditation was $5 million.

The institution’s president, Phyllis Worthy Dawkins vocalized that she never wants to be in this position again, and she has plans to uplift Bennett like never before: “Build an endowment, growing scholarship dollars, re-engineering the institution, changing our business model, looking at market-driven majors, so there’s a variety of things we plan to do.” Watch the full live-streamed announcement below:

At the end of last year, brothers Jussie Smollett and Jake Smollett took a stand with Bennett to raise awareness of their fiscal situation. The recently hospitalized singer reminded his Instagram followers of the importance of keeping the college open: “In the 1930s we had 121 #HBCUs now we’re at 101. Don’t let us be down to 100 if #BennettCollege, who has made the education of black women a priority since 1926, closes its doors.”

The formal appeal to keep Bennett’s accreditation will be on Feb. 18, reports Essence, and the accreditation board will make a final decision on Feb. 25. This isn’t the first time financial backing has been given to a black university. Remember when Kamala Harris and Doug Jones increased spending for HBCUs? Keeping these institutions open is necessary, at all costs.

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