“For [President] Obama, people expected him to come in and fix everything — especially for black people. … But he never campaigned strongly for HBCUs,” said Walter Kimbrough, president of Dillard University in New Orleans, using the common abbreviation for the schools.

Now, he says, the reverse has happened — Trump came in with no expectations placed on him, and some black educators have been pleasantly surprised. “So people now want to see what’s going to happen because he’s coming in saying he’s going to be the president for HBCUs,” Kimbrough added. “It’s a very different perspective, but it’s still the first 150 days, so we’ll see what happens.”

Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a nonprofit that helps provide financial assistance to students who attend black colleges, says the signs from the White House are encouraging.

“In the first four months of this presidency, the Trump administration has been far more responsive to our community than the past administration,” Taylor said. “I, for one, judge people by what they do — not what they say.”