Howard University students compete in the 2012 Honda Campus All-Star Challenge. (Getty Images)

Ominous news for the nation's second-ranked historically black college: A vice chairwoman of Howard University's board of trustees recently told the board of the Washington, D.C., school that the institution "is in genuine trouble," the Washington Post reports.

"Howard will not be here in three years if we don't make some crucial decisions now," Renee Higginbotham-Brooks wrote in a letter dated April 24 and published on the Chronicle of Higher Education website. It focused on what she said were fiscal and management problems:

Among the concerns Higginbotham-Brooks cited were competition for students from less expensive public colleges, the possibility of a reduction in federal appropriations, expenses associated with the university's hospital, the absence of a robust fundraising system to offset declines in tuition revenue and a university workforce that she said is too large.

Rachel Mann, a spokeswoman for Howard, said Friday afternoon that the university would refer questions about the letter to board of trustees Chairman Addison Barry Rand, who was traveling and was unavailable for an interview.

"Spirited debate and discourse are part of the culture of higher education," Rand, who is chief executive of AARP, said in a statement. "The board and the university's leadership team continue to work tirelessly to address many of the tough issues facing colleges and universities like Howard."


Read more at the Washington Post.

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