Spelman College has witnessed a remarkable surge in applications since George Floyd’s murder in 2020, including a 13% influx within the last year.

Bloomberg noted the all-women’s HBCU in Atlanta saw applicant submissions grow by nearly a third between 2020 and 2024, which physician and Spelman President Dr. Helene Gayle credited to Floyd’s murder. The surge within the past year comes amid the Supreme Court’s ruling on race, which BLACK ENTERPRISE previously mentioned, the high court decided to cease considering race in college admissions.

“It has changed the way young people feel about being in an environment that’s nurturing, that they know that they are valued, that they see people that reflect who they are, understand the cultures that they came from,” Gayle told Bloomberg TV. “The Supreme Court decision had a chilling effect, whether or not it’s yet had the time to have a practical impact.”

As colleges share admission decisions for the first application season since the Supreme Court ruling, some institutions face financial constraints due to enrollment declines and demographic shifts like Birmingham-Southern College, which stated it would cease operations on May 31, 2024, due to a lack of funding.

However, Spelman’s surge in applicants defies the nationwide trend of declining enrollments that has forced some smaller colleges to shut down. The college has recently received substantial donations, including a historic $100 million gift from businesswoman Ronda Stryker and her husband, William Johnston. Of this amount, $75 million will fund endowed scholarships to attract top students, while $25 million will support public policy and democracy studies, housing improvements, and strategic needs. This is the largest single donation to a Historically Black College or University.

In 2022, Spelman announced it received a $5 million grant from the Mellon Foundation for faculty development and interdisciplinary programs. The previous year, a $5 million grant from Google aimed to increase diverse representation in STEM fields. These followed two $40 million donations in 2020 from philanthropists MacKenzie Scott and Patty Quillin, who donated with Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.