Howard University Leads in Critical African Language Training


Student enrollment in African language courses reached 772 during the 2020/2021 academic year at Howard University! This represents the largest enrollment in one year in African languages of all US Title VI universities. From 2014-2020 HU also had the highest African language enrollment of all US Title VI universities - reaching 3481 students. 70% of students taking African languages credit Howard’s African languages offerings as an important factor in their decision to come Howard. The University is growing due to this language training. Howard has added 4 new African languages since 2015, and an additional 20 classes across 7 African languages.

Who are the HU students enrolled in African languages? 96% of African Language Students are undergraduates while 4% are graduate students. Approximately 24% are Heritage Learners, that is, they have cultural ties to the languages that they are currently studying. 51% of students surveyed are studying African languages above the introductory level and 89% of intend to continue with their language study. Science and Social Science majors are equally represented and the most popular majors among African language students, with significant representation from Business and Communications majors as well.  

What are Howard students saying about the value of African Language learning for their future goals? “As an aspiring family doctor, I plan on using my proficiency to travel and care for English and Arabic speaking people as well as help eliminate the language barrier between doctors and patients in the U.S.” – current Arabic student. “I plan to use Zulu in my classroom as a middle school teacher. I want to further expose people to the language and encourage people to travel to the beautiful South Africa.” – current Zulu student.

This information is based on Howard University registrar data and survey information conducted by the Center for African Studies during the Spring 2021 semester; as well as data received from the US Department of Education in May 2021.


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