The Alfred Street Baptist Church in Alexandria, Va. has been helping make education more accessible to black students for decades. It’s most recent method of doing so has been the Annual HBCU College Festival.

The 14th Annual HBCU College Festival was held this past February at T.C. Williams High School and brought in more than 3,000 students from all over the country. By placing students in the same room as representatives of some of the country’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities, more than 1,000 students were admitted into at least one institution and received more $2.1 million in scholarships, according to the Root.

Ryan Atkins, director of Alfred Street’s HBCU Committee, told HBCU Buzz: “If you total up all the scholarships, the funds awarded exceeded over two million dollars and … over 60 HBCUs from across the country came on site and 42 of those granted students acceptance and money to pay for their higher education on the spot.”

While this year’s festival was the most successful ever, it wasn’t by coincidence. Alfred Street representatives worked with institutions with these kinds of results in mind.

“We intentionally brought in colleges that were prepared to give away scholarships on the spot,” said Rev. Dr. Howard-John Wesley, pastor of Alfred Street. “This makes it convenient for students who otherwise may not have had help searching for college funds. We know how much this event means to our community as well as to these families; because we know that without this event, many couldn’t afford college.”

There are unfortunately many students who could excel in higher education settings, but don’t get the opportunity because they wither weren’t presented with the right information or faced financial difficulties. Events like the 14th Annual HBCU College Festival play a pivotal role in making that population much smaller.

[Unrelated] Fun Fact: T.C. Williams High School is the same high school where the true story that inspired Remember the Titans occurred.

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