The Higher Education Act of 1965 categorizes historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education that meets the following criteria:
- Established before 1964
- With the principal mission of providing higher education to black Americans
- Accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association, as identified by the Secretary of Education or making reasonable progress toward accreditation
Before establishing HBCUs, and for several years afterward, black Americans were typically denied admission to historically white colleges and universities despite their qualifications. HBCUs then became the principal venue for black Americans to secure their post-secondary education.
As of 2018, there are 101 HBCUs in 19 states and the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (There were 121 HBCUs in the 1930s.) Of the existing 101 HBCUs, 50 are private non-profit institutions, and 51 are public institutions. Of these institutions, 38 offer associate degrees, 83 have bachelor’s degree programs, 52 offer master’s degree programs and 27 have doctoral degree programs.
Georgia has one of HBCUs’ highest concentrations, including Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Morehouse College of Medicine, and Savannah State University.
Nowadays, HBCUs are still relevant higher education institutions despite many of the racial barriers being brought down by law and society. Black Americans find that HBCUs offered the best opportunity for relevant higher education.
A Comprehensive History of HBCUs
Before the Civil War, black students didn’t have access to structured higher education institutions. The public policy, laws, and conventions prohibited blacks from being enrolled in colleges and universities, and, thus, their education was limited to the elementary and high school levels.
In 1837, the first-ever higher education school for blacks, The Institute for Colored Youth, was founded in Cheyney, Pennsylvania. It would take nearly two decades before other black institutions were opened – Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) in 1854 and Wilberforce University (Ohio) in 1856.
But these universities weren’t established to provide higher education despite their names. Their primary mission was to provide elementary and secondary education for black students who didn’t have previous formal schooling in their early years. By the early 1900s nonetheless, these early HBCUs started offering post-secondary courses and programs.
In 1862, the Morrill Act required states to establish land grant colleges. Some of these institutions, particularly in the North and West, welcomed blacks for admission. But 17 states, most of them in the South, implemented a segregated system and excluded black Americans from their land grant colleges.
In 1890, the Second Morrill Act was enacted, a response by Congress to the continuing segregation and a sign of public support for post-secondary education for black Americans. Under the Act, states with racially segregated post-secondary education systems were required to establish land grant institutions for black Americans as white-only land grant institutions.
As a result, the southern and border states saw the rise of public land grant institutions established specifically for black students. Many private black schools also became public institutions or were accorded land grant status. Most of these HBCUs offered industrial, mechanical, and agricultural courses but few offered bachelor’s degree programs.
Cheney University, Wilberforce University, and Lincoln University are the HBCUs established before the Civil War. Most HBCUs in the South was only established after the Civil War, including Atlanta University (1865) and Clark College (1869), which consolidated in 1988 to become Clark Atlanta University, Shaw University (1865), and Storer College (1865-1955).
In April 1989, then-President George Bush strengthened the HBCUs’ capacity to provide quality education to black students and increase their participation in programs sponsored by the federal government (E.O. 12677). Today, HBCUs enjoys support from the public and private sectors and accept students from all walks of life, regardless of color.
How HBCUs Changed Higher Education
According to a UNCF report, HBCUs only comprise a fairly small percentage of post-secondary institutions in the country – just 3% – and only 8.5% of the country’s four-year institutions. These numbers, however, don’t tell the entire story of the impact of HBCUs!
Approximately one-third of black STEM degree seekers and one-quarter of black bachelor’s degree seekers graduate from HBCUs. The report also stated that almost 24% of black undergraduate students were enrolled in HBCUs in 2016. Even as traditionally white colleges and universities accepted black students, many black Americans still considered HBCUs their first choice in higher education.
In an article on the U.S. Department of Education website, these were cited as the accomplishments of HBCUs:
- More than 80% of black Americans with degrees in medicine and dentistry trained at Howard University and Meharry Medical College. Both HBCUs account for nearly 20% of medicine and dentistry degrees awarded to black students.
- 75% of all black persons with a doctorate received their undergraduate training at HBCUs. 75% of all black officers and 85% of all black federal judges also went to HBCUs for their undergraduate education. Furthermore, HBCUs are the foremost providers of bachelor’s degrees for black students in physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, and life sciences.
- 50% of the black faculty employed in white research institutions were also awarded their bachelor’s degrees at HBCUs.
In a landmark study titled “HBCUs Make America Strong: The Positive Economic Impact of Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” their economic benefits are highlighted, too. These economic benefits aren’t limited to their students and alumni and their communities and regions that they have served for over 100 years.
For one thing, HBCUs generate more than 134,000 jobs in their local and regional areas. These are wide-ranging jobs, too, from faculty and administrative staff to maintenance staff and ancillary support services. Of course, these employed people contribute to their communities in many ways, from taxes to community service.
For another thing, HBCUs generate $14.8 billion in terms of economic impact every year. Their graduates also earn more than $130 billion over their collective lifetime – and that’s for the 2014 graduates alone. Without a college degree, black persons can expect to earn less than 50% than if they have a college degree or a higher education.
Indeed, HBCUs changed the educational landscape and continues to change it by opening doors of higher education opportunities for black students! These institutions gave us black leaders in notable industries, including education, science, technology, engineering, math (STEAM), medicine, politics, and business. These black leaders inspire the black American youth to follow in their footsteps, starting with getting a bachelor’s degree.
Consider a few of the notable black Americans who were HBCU graduates:
- Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize recipient (Morehouse College)
- William Edward Burghardt Du Bois, educator, sociologist, historian, activist, and co-founder of the NMCP (Fisk University)
- Thurgood Marshall, Supreme Court Justice (Lincoln University and Howard University School of Law)
- Leontyne Price, soprano (Wilberforce University)
- Oprah Winfrey, world-famous talk show host, author, and philanthropist (Tennessee State University)
- Spike Lee, film director, producer, and screenwriter (Morehouse College)
- Tuskegee Airmen, military pilots, and heroes who served during World War II (Tuskegee University)
- Katherine Johnson, NASA mathematician (West Virginia State University)
- Kamala Harris, the first female Vice President-Elect and the first black Vice President-Elect (Howard University)
The Current State of HBCUs
While HBCUs were originally established for black students’ higher education, they now enroll non-black students, too. Such racial diversity has also increased over time – in 1976. Non-black students comprised 15% of the student population in HBCUs; by 2018, non-black students made up 24% of their student body.
There have been declines in other areas, too. Between 1976 and 2018, the number of black students enrolled at HBCUs increased by 17%. But during this period, the total number of black students in all higher education institutions offering bachelor’s degree programs (HBCUs and non-HBCUs) also doubled.
The result: The percentage of black students enrolled at HBCUs decreased by half during this period – from 18% in 1976 to just 9% in 2010. Between 2010 and 2018, there was no significant change in the enrollment of black students at HBCUs.
Since 1976 nonetheless, HBCUs have seen higher female enrollment than male enrollment. Female enrollment has increased over the years – from 53% in 1976 to 62% in 2018. Furthermore, most of the degrees awarded to black students were conferred to black female students!
The number of HBCU students has also seen its share of ups and downs. During the 1976-2010 period, there was an increase of 47% in total enrollment – from 223,000 in 1976 to 327,000 in 2010. This peak was achieved during the year after Barack Obama was elected President. But during the 2010-2018 period, their total enrollment decreased to 292,000 or an 11% decrease.
Despite the numerous challenges, particularly funding concerns, HBCUs remain relevant in our society! HBCUs provide black Americans the opportunity to secure higher education that, in turn, benefits them in terms of employment, quality of life, and social mobility. Black students are also provided with the opportunity to increase their self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness while also gaining the knowledge and skills for life success.
Dissecting HBCUs Truths and Myths
Let’s disprove the myths that surround HBCUs, many of which may prevent black students from enrolling.
Myth #1: HBCUs are for black people only.
This isn’t true, just as the statement that black Americans founded HBCUs! Howard University is named after Gen. Oliver O. Howard, one of its founders and a white Union officer; Spelman University was established by white teachers, Sophia B. Packard and Harriet E. Giles; Morehouse College, an all-male HBCU, received substantial financial support from the Rockefellers and a white Baptist church.
As previously mentioned, HBCUs now have racially diverse student populations, with more than 20% being non-black. Of course, the black students still outnumber the non-black students, but racial diversity is alive and well. HBCUs are also attracting international students, such as the two dozen Nepalese students who joined Howard University’s 2014 freshman class.
Myth #2: HBCUs promote racism.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said it well, “Although Negro colleges are by and large segregated institutions, they are not segregating institutions.” While HBCUs were originally established to provide black students who were denied entry into white schools with higher education, they have always accepted non-black students. While they were established because of racism in the past, they neither promote nor tolerate racism.
Myth #3: HBCUs are expensive and, thus, force students to take on onerous debts.
The 2020 collective student loan debt is nearly $1.6 trillion among 45 million borrowers, a troubling trend indeed! The average student loan debt is $32,731, while the Class of 2018’s average debt is at $29,200, representing a 2% increase from the previous year. Suffice it to say that concerns about HBCU students being in deep debt have a basis.
There’s also the matter of lower endowments among HBCUs that affect their scholarship programs, particularly the amount of grant-in-aid offered to students. With fewer scholarships in HBCUs, students have to find other means to finance their education, including student loans.
However, most HBCUs, even the private institutions, have significantly lower tuition and fees than their non-HBCU counterparts. For example, the tuition and fees for an academic year at Williams College are $51,950 while those are Howard University are at $28,740; Florida A&M has lower tuition and fees at $18,000 per academic year. This means that students don’t have to secure large student loans to pay for their education, especially when external scholarships and sponsorships are considered.
Myth #4: HBCUs provide inferior education to their students.
Admittedly, there are no HBCUs on the top 100 national universities compiled by the U.S. News & World Report. Spelman University is the only HBCU ranked in its list of the top 100 best liberal arts colleges, too.
But these figures don’t paint the whole picture! HBCUs serve students from low-income households where the cost of attendance is the primary barrier for college attendance and completion. The fact that black students are provided with the golden opportunity to advance their careers and make their lives better with a college degree is admirable in itself.
As the notable black leaders in law, education, and entertainment prove, black students receive an excellent education at HBCUs! Also, HBCUs produce approximately 20% of all black American graduates in the country. Of these graduates, 25% are in the STEAM fields.
Remember, too, that quality education isn’t just about the curriculum and courses. In a 2015 Gallup report, HBCU graduates are more likely to thrive in their lives than their non-HBCU black counterparts. They were thriving, particularly in terms of financial well-being and purpose well-being, and strongly agreed that their HBCUs prepared them for post-graduation life.
Should You Enroll in an HBCU?
Yes, of course! You should consider enrolling in an HBCU if you’re looking for the following aspects in a university:
HBCUs offer competitive facilities and credentialed faculty and curriculum and courses that meet, if not exceed, current academic standards for higher education institutions. HBCUs have accreditations from regional and national accreditation agencies like the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Diverse student population
HBCUs accept enrollment for all races and ethnicities from around the world. Indeed, their focus on black students doesn’t mean a limited educational experience, particularly cultural exposure.
Affordable cost of attendance
Both private and public HBCUs offer an affordable total cost of attendance than non-HBCUs, as shown in the comparison between Williams College and Howard University. More than 75% of HBCU students receive financial aid like Pell Grants due to their low-income status.
Among HBCUs’ strengths is their specialized focus on the education of black students, which fosters a strong sense of community. The student body comes from similar cultural, social, and economic backgrounds, resulting in a supportive community geared toward enriching others’ lives. The members of the faculty also use classroom practices that encourage personal responsibility and social interactions.
Such a supportive community extends to the alumni associations, too. Alumni are typically active in the schools’ affairs, including fundraising for scholarships and endowments that benefit current students.
If you also take pride in your African-American heritage and culture, you may want to consider an HBCU! Here, you will be more aware of these matters and take pride in your heritage.
20 Great HBCUs in America
We’ve rounded up the top-rated HBCUs everywhere in the United States. These colleges and universities are not only best known for their rich heritage, strong advocacies, student-centered policies; they also demonstrate academic leadership with top-ranking degree programs! Explore them all using these quick links:
- Spelman College
- Howard University
- Xavier University of Louisiana
- Tuskegee University
- Hampton University
- Morehouse College
- Florida A&M University
- North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
- Claflin University
- Fisk University
- Delaware State University
- North Carolina Central University
- Morgan State University
- Tougaloo College
- Clark Atlanta University
- Jackson State University
- Winston-Salem State University
- University of Maryland Eastern Shore
- Alcorn State University
- Lincoln University (PA)
This listing features the retention rate for first-year students, while the graduation rate refers to the four-year rate unless otherwise specified. The tuition, fees, room, and board amounts (in U.S. dollars) are for an academic year and undergraduate students only, unless otherwise specified:
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a private HBCU with an undergraduate enrollment of 2,120-plus and a semester-based academic calendar. All of its students are women, with most of them being African-American, while 30% are Georgians, 69% are from the rest of the country, and 1% are international students. It has a progressive view of gender in its admissions process.
Newcomers and sophomore students are required to live in on-campus residences.
The college is a member of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, the world’s largest group of HBCUs with a mission of providing quality education for black and non-black students; other members include Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Clark Atlanta University. Its Women’s Research and Resource Center is dedicated to the women’s studies curriculum. With its 39-acre urban campus located just five minutes from downtown Atlanta, it’s an active part of the community.
Students can choose from over 60 organizations for their extracurricular activities, from Greek sororities to choral groups, dance groups, and community service organizations. But the college doesn’t currently compete in intercollegiate athletics – instead, students are offered wellness programs.
Spelman College evaluates admission applications in a holistic manner. Applicants are assessed based on their academic transcripts. ACT/SAT scores, personal statement, recommendation letters, extracurricular activities, and community-service involvement.
Total tuition, fees and room and board: On-campus students $44,740; Off-campus $25,766
Acceptance rate: 43% Retention rate: 90% Graduation rate: 68%
With its sprawling 257-acre urban campus, Howard University attracts both black and non-black students searching for a top-notch private HBCU offering a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. Students may choose from over 120 programs, the most in any HBCU in the country, offered by its colleges and schools.
These include the School of Law, College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, School of Law, College of Engineering and Architecture, College of Pharmacy, College of Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communications, School of Social Work, School of Education, and School of Divinity. Indeed, these have produced notable African-Americans, including Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, and Phylicia Rashad!
Every undergraduate student must complete a university-wide core curriculum with Afro-American studies, English composition, and math courses. Students can choose from numerous majors, including the French language, music therapy, and Afro-American studies.
With a 10,000-strong student population, Howard University is among the largest HBCUs. But it has a highly selective admissions process where students must demonstrate strong academic achievement, personal motivation, and professional potential. Incoming first-year students and transfer applicants must apply through Common Application only, while other students can apply via the university’s Online Application portal.
On-campus cost of attendance: $48,080
Acceptance rate: 39% Retention rate: 88% Graduation rate: 52%
New Orleans, Louisiana
Established in 1915, Xavier University of Louisiana is a Roman Catholic HBCU with a 63-acre urban campus. With 2,500-plus undergraduate students, 25% being non-black and 74% being non-Catholic, this private HBCU is among the more diverse there is. At least half of its students are from Louisiana, but student population also includes attendees from other states and countries.
Students can choose from several extracurricular programs to enrich their lives through social interactions, cultural awareness, and community service. They can also compete in intercollegiate athletics in sports like basketball, tennis, cross-country, track and field, and volleyball; Xavier competes in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). They also have access to numerous student services, including health services, non-remedial tutoring, and placement service.
While Xavier’s acceptance rate is fairly high, applicants are still evaluated based on strict standards. The application requirements include an official high school transcript, letter of recommendation, essay, and resume.
The College of Arts and Sciences offers degree programs and courses in public health sciences, education and counseling, business management, fine arts and humanities, mathematical and physical sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. The College of Pharmacy offers two programs: Doctor of Pharmacy and Physician Assistant. The university also offers a pre-med program for students interested in medicine, dentistry, optometry, and veterinary medicine.
Tuition and fees: From $9,054 to $19,985 depending on the college
Acceptance rate: 60% Retention rate: 72% Graduation rate: 38%
Founded in 1881, Tuskegee University is a private HBCU with an expansive 5,000-acre rural campus designated as a National Historic Site. With nearly 3,000 undergraduate students from the United States and foreign countries worldwide, it’s among the country’s largest HBCUs. With such a sprawling campus and a large student body, its 24-hour Campus Police service is a must; the university only employs state-certified officers.
Students can choose from 40 bachelor’s degree programs, 17 master’s degree programs, four doctoral degree programs, a professional degree in architecture, and a veterinary medicine program doctor. Most of the country’s black veterinarians are alumni of Tuskegee University, too. The university’s programs are under the umbrella of The College of Engineering, The School of Education, The College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health and The Brimmer College of Business and Information Science, among others.
Students may choose from at least 100 groups and organizations, including Greek fraternities and sororities. First-year students and sophomores must live in on-campus residences, while juniors and seniors can choose to live off-campus.
The preferred admission requirements include either a 1080 SAT score or 21 ACT composite score and a 3.0 cumulative GPA in high school. The university has an undergraduate honors programs for high-achieving sophomores.
Tuition and fees: $22,614
Acceptance rate: 57% Retention rate: 71% Graduation rate: 14%
Started in 1868 by the American Missionary Association, this Hampton-based university has produced notable alumni, including Booker T. Washington and Wanda Sykes. Its wonderful 314-acre urban campus is the Hampton University Museum and other historical buildings in Virginia’s Commonwealth.
The university offers ten associate/certificate programs, 50 bachelor’s degree programs, 26 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degree programs. These are offered in seven accredited schools and colleges, including the School of Engineering and Technology, School of Pharmacy, Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communication, and School of Business.
Its 3,700-strong student body can choose from more than 100 organizations and participate in extracurricular events, including concerts, recitals, and theatrical performances. At least half of its students live in housing owned, operated, or affiliated with the university, while the rest are in off-campus accommodations. Students can avail themselves of several student services, including health insurance and services, non-remedial tutoring, daycare services, and placement services.
The university also runs an honors college, the Freddye T. Davy Honors College, which only high-achieving undergraduate students can attend. Interested students can either directly apply for admission or accept an invitation from the college itself.
Tuition, fees, and room and board: $42,618
Acceptance rate: 36% Retention rate: 77% Graduation rate: 40%
With its urban 61-acre campus near downtown Atlanta, Morehouse College is among the foremost – and largest, too – liberal arts HBCUs for men in the country. Such is its world-class quality of education that it has produced several Rhodes Scholars, Fulbright Scholars, and Marshall Scholars and the alma mater of the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr. Donn Clendenon and Julian Bond. Alumni are known as the Morehouse Men, many of which have made their mark in academia, science, business, and entertainment.
Students can select from a vast range of Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degree programs, including business administration, economics, English, philosophy, history, religion, math, computer science, urban physics studies, biology, and psychology. The graduation requirements include completion of credit-bearing and non-credit bearing requirements, such as mandatory exit exams, Crown Forum, and a 2.0 minimum GPA.
The university’s New Student Orientation (NSO) initiates new students as Men of Morehouse. The eight-day orientation includes campus tours and discussions about the college’s history, traditions and legacy, academic divisions, and extracurricular activities.
Morehouse College competes in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and the NCAA’s Division II in baseball, football, basketball, volleyball, golf, polo, tennis, track, and field.
Cost of attendance: $49,700 (On and off-campus)
Acceptance rate: 51% Retention rate: 80% Graduation rate: 33%
Florida A&M University’s vast 422-acre campus sits on Tallahassee’s highest hill, a symbol of the high esteem with which the nation regards it. It’s the only public HBCU in Florida and its 7,800-strong student body, the third-largest HBCU in the country. It’s a land grant university and a member of the State University System of Florida.
FAMU offers more than 50 undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate degree programs under 12 colleges and schools, such as the College of Agriculture and Food Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Science and Technology, College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities. The Bachelors of Science and Arts programs include agribusiness, biology education, chemical and biomedical engineering, civil and environmental engineering, pharmaceutical sciences, criminal justice, and cardiopulmonary sciences. The master’s degree programs include community psychology, applied social sciences, and sport management.
The university has implemented the Medical Scholars Program (MSP) since 2012. Only ten freshmen are admitted to the highly selective four-year pre-med program.
First-year students must live on campus, provided their families live in areas more than 35 miles from campus. Exceptions include students with dependents, married students, and students more than 21 years old by the start of classes.
Tuition, fees, room and board, and other expenses: $49,700
Acceptance rate: 36% Retention rate: 82% Graduation rate: 22%
Greensboro, North Carolina
North Carolina A&T is a member of the University of North Carolina System and a public HBCU with more than 12,500 students, the largest HBCU. Its 800-acres urban campus has produced more African-American agriculture degree holders through its College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences than any other school in the U.S. It’s also among the most prolific producers of black engineers with master’s and doctoral degrees and minority veterinarians, psychologists, and certified public accountants.
Such an excellent academic reputation results from the university’s single-minded focus on challenging its students inside and outside the classroom and providing them with a wide variety of academic resources. The university also offers online classes, summer school, and study abroad opportunities aside from its honors program.
The university’s eight colleges offer more than 160 baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, post-baccalaureate certificate programs, and post-master’s certificate programs. These include the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, and Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics. There are also 29 minors to choose from in the academic catalog.
The Aggies, as the athletics teams are known, compete in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and has won championship titles in track and field, football, and basketball.
Tuition, fees and insurance: $4,636.81/semester
Acceptance rate: 58% Retention rate: 78% Graduation rate: 25%
Orangeburg, South Carolina
Claflin University’s 46-acre city campus may be smaller than other HBCUs, but therein lies its charm! A small student body – less than 2,000 students in most years – is characterized by a supportive community where teachers and students have better classroom and social interactions. Since most of its students come from South Carolina and other states and more than a dozen foreign countries, it’s among the most diverse HBCUs, too.
The university offers baccalaureate degrees through its four schools – the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Department of Arts, the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and School of Business and School of Education. These schools have departments that offer specific study areas, such as biology, chemistry, math, computer science, nursing, art, English, social sciences, and mass communications.
The Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College is a highly selective honors program with a rigorous curriculum designed to produce leaders. The Center for Professional and Continuing Studies provides non-traditional studies, including working adults, to earn their degrees; evening and weekend classes and part-time enrollment are available.
Students have interesting activities and events to enjoy, such as Fried Chicken Wednesdays, Philanthropy Day, and Panthers games. Student-led organizations, including Greek fraternities and sororities, are aplenty, as is the case for residence halls across the campus.
Tuition and fees: $17,192
Acceptance rate: 55% Retention rate: 76% Graduation rate: 39%
Fisk University, a private HBCU, is a fairly small university with 40 acres of campus and less than 900 undergraduate students. What it lacks in literal size, it makes up for in rich history and present prestige! Fisk’s campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its notable alumni include exemplary people like Constance Baker Motley, the first African-American woman elected as New York State Senator; W. E. B. Du Bois, scholar, sociologist, and the first African-American with a Harvard Ph.D.; and Ida B. Wells, women’s suffrage advocate, and civil rights activist.
The university offers several baccalaureate degree programs through its two schools – the School of Humanities and Behavioral Social Sciences and the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Business. The degree programs offered include Bachelor of Science Or Bachelor Of Arts In Sociology, Psychology, History, English, Political Sciences, Computer Science, Physical Sciences, And Business Administration.
There’s also a School of Graduate Studies that offers master’s degrees in chemistry, biology, physics, and clinical psychology. Fisk has partnerships with other schools in conjunction with its master’s degree programs, such as the Fisk-Vanderbilt Masters-to-PhD Bridge Program in Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Non-traditional students can also look into the Human Development and Leadership degree program and distance learning and dual degree programs.
Tuition and fees: $22,832
Acceptance rate: 93% Retention rate: 80% Graduation rate: 50%
Established in 1891, Delaware State University is situated on a 400-acre suburban campus in Dover, Delaware. There are also satellite campuses in Georgetown and Wilmington, both in Delaware. The undergraduate enrollment is more than 4,300, and students are enrolled in four colleges, namely, the College of Agriculture, Science and Technology; College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences; College of Business; and College of Health & Behavioral Sciences.
The graduate and post-graduate programs are under the School of Graduate, Adult, and Extended Studies. There are also dual degree programs and cooperative programs with other schools. The doctoral degrees include mathematical physics, neuroscience, and applied chemistry.
There are two types of honors programs offered – the traditional honors program and the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Honors Program. Both are open only to high-achieving students pursuing Biomedical Research Studies, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, and Biopsychology.
With its highly selective admissions criteria, the university suggests that interested students take up college prep courses in high school. Undergraduate students should complete the General Education Program and meet their respective degree programs’ requirements. The majority of undergraduates finance their studies through a combination of scholarships, loans, and work-study income.
Tuition and Fees: $9,138 (in-state); $19,060 (out-of-state)
Acceptance rate: 53% Retention rate: 72% Graduation rate: 27%
Durham, North Carolina
The North Carolina Central University’s 135-acre campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and provides ample space for studies and extracurricular activities for its 8,000-plus students. Most of the students are women, while African-Americans comprise most of the student body – the rest is white, Hispanic, and Asian. The student-faculty ratio of 16:1 means teachers can provide quality instruction.
NCCU is a part of the University of California system and a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Through its Eagle Promise, the university promises its graduates four outcomes: on-time degree completion, social and global engagement, demonstrated leadership, and market-ready skills.
The bachelor’s degree offerings include the School of Education, College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, College of Health and Sciences, and School of Business. The study fields include chemistry, accounting, aerospace studies, mass communication, business administration, and jazz studies.
NCCU also offers graduate degrees in over 40 areas, including integrated biosciences, business administration, and Juris doctor. There are also programs for credit and continuing education certificates and a robust distance education program. These are designed to provide continuing education opportunities with flexible options for non-traditional students.
Tuition, fees, and room and board: $10,862
Acceptance rate: 68% Retention rate: 79% Graduation rate: 25%
While Morgan State University is a public HBCU, it isn’t part of the University System of Maryland, but it’s a member-school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. With its nearly 7,800-strong student population, it’s considered the largest HBCU in Maryland. The student body is divided into 6,500 undergraduate students and 1,300 graduate students, of which 70% are Maryland residents while the rest are from the rest of the U.S. and foreign countries.
There are 12 schools, colleges, and institutes at MSU, including:
- College of Liberal Arts
- School of Architecture & Planning
- School of Business & Management
- School of Community Health & Policy
- School of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences
- School of Education & Urban Studies
- School of Engineering
- School of Global Journalism & Communication
- School of Social Work
- School of Graduate Studies
These MSU schools and colleges offer a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs from accounting, actuarial science, and architecture to engineering with civil, industrial, and electrical concentrations, fine arts, and social work. The Dr. Clara Adams Honors College welcomes newcomers and transfer students with excellent academic records and potential.
Tuition and fees: $3,814.00 (in-state); $9,050.00 (out-of-state)
Acceptance rate: 68% Retention rate: 73% Graduation rate: 17%
Founded in 1869, Tougaloo College sits on a 100-acre suburban campus with beautiful views and buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a private institution affiliated with the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and imbued with a rich history of social, political, and civic activism.
There are several academic divisions that offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in various fields. These divisions include the Division of Education, Division of Humanities, Division of Natural Science, and Division of Social Science. The study/degree programs include child development, elementary education, liberal studies, mass communications, physics, computer science, economics, and social work.
First-year college students who want to be enrolled at MSU must be graduates of an accredited high school with 16 secondary school work units and at least a 2.0 GPA. ACT/SAT score is considered in the admission process. Applicants without a high school diploma must have passed GED requirements with minimum score requirements – either 450 on five sections (minimum average standard score) or 410 on all five sections (minimum standard score).
The Bulldogs compete in NAIA sports, including baseball, basketball, and golf. There are men’s and women’s teams for most of the intercollegiate sports.
Tuition, fees and room and board: $18,628
Acceptance rate: 91% Retention rate: 72% Graduation rate: 25%
Clark Atlanta University is a consolidation of Atlanta University (founded 1865) and Clark College (founded 1869), a merger achieved in 1988. Its 126-acre urban campus features several residential facilities and apartments that undergraduates can choose from as their on-campus accommodations. Take note that the university requires undergraduate students with less than 58 credit hours to live on campus.
With nearly 4,000 students, it’s among the largest HBCUs in the nation, too. Students are enrolled in four schools: the School of Arts & Science, School of Business, School of Education, and School of Social Work. With more than 40 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs, the university is considered as the Atlanta University Center’s most comprehensive institution.
CAU also has its Isabella T. Jenkins Honors Program, a highly selective program designed to challenge high-achieving undergraduates.
Undergraduate students must attend the five-day CAU Experience, an event intended to introduce them to CAU’s culture, traditions, community, and campus. The event, which is largely led by student leaders (Orientation Guides), culminates in a formal induction ceremony where the undergraduates will be inducted as CAU Panthers.
The CAU athletics teams compete in the NCAA’s Division II and the SIAC. The sports include basketball, baseball, football, volleyball and cross country. There are also Greek letter organizations and student-led organizations.
Tuition and fees: $24,422
Acceptance rate: 55% Retention rate: 70% Graduation rate: 31%
The 7,000-strong student population of Jackson State University enjoys its 220-acre campus with an urban vibe. Its student body size is among the largest HBCUs in the country, not to mention among the best with its high research activity. There are also satellite campuses in other areas of the Jackson Metropolitan area, such as in Madison, Holmes, and Universities Center (Ridgewood Road).
The university’s academic divisions are:
- College of Business
- College of Education and Human Development
- College of Health Sciences
- College of Liberal Arts
- College of Science, Engineering, and Technology
Each college offers a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s degree programs and a few doctoral programs. These range from Accounting, Biomedical Engineering, and Business Administration to Sociology, Statistics, and University Studies. There’s also an Honors College for high-achieving students who have exceptional academic talents and professional potential.
Full-time freshmen students are provided with brand-new iPads for their studies, an initiative that has earned the university the prestigious Apple Distinguished School twice. Full admission will only be granted under strict conditions, including completing the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC) with a minimum GPA.
Students are provided with ample opportunity to enjoy extracurricular activities through more than 100 registered student organizations.
Tuition and fees: $4,223 (in-state); $4,722.50 (out-of-state)
Acceptance rate: 69% Retention rate: 62% Graduation rate: 36%
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Winston-Salem State University is a public HBCU and part of the University of North Carolina. Its 117-acre campus features more than 40 buildings that house its schools and colleges, residential facilities, and students’ service facilities.
With about 5,200 undergraduate and graduate students, it’s among the largest HBCUs, too. The faculty complement numbers about 400 while there are more than 550 staff members.
The university’s College of Arts, Sciences, Business and Education, known as The College, is known for its robust research, innovative teaching, public service, and degree programs. These include liberal arts, business, and education, all of which are designed to prepare students for the challenges of the 21st century. The College also ensures small class sizes and outstanding faculty to deliver the best possible higher education.
The School of Health Sciences offers masters of science in occupational therapy and clinical doctoral degrees in nursing and physical therapy. Students are provided with innovative learning experiences through student-run free clinics, virtual hospitals, and study abroad opportunities. The university offered online and blended learning programs for graduate nursing students, health administration, clinical laboratory science, and rehabilitation counselling.
Undergraduates can avail of the Fixed Tuition Program, where qualified students will pay the same tuition amount until graduation.
Tuition and fees: $8,570 (in-state); $18,817 (out-of-state)
Acceptance rate: 65% Retention rate: 77% Graduation rate: 30%
Princess Anne, Maryland
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is within the University System of Maryland, and it’s a land grant HBCU. Within its rural 620-acre campus live about 55% of its students are allowed to keep cars on the campus. Its 3,300-strong student body comprises 93% undergraduates and 7% graduate students; students come from various backgrounds, mostly from 33 states in the U.S. and 55 foreign countries.
The university has five schools, namely:
- School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences
- School of Business and Technology
- School of Education, Social Sciences, and Arts
- School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
- School of Graduate Studies
The number of degree programs offered can be overwhelming, so students are well-advised to browse through the list. The bachelor’s degree programs range from accounting, agribusiness management, and applied design to criminal justice, engineering, and urban forestry. Many of these programs also offer concentrations, such as agricultural studies, plant and soil science, and agricultural education for General Agriculture.
Applicants can choose from two application platforms – UMES Standard Application and Common App Application. Required application documents must be submitted to the Office of Admissions & Recruitment.
Students have many opportunities to enjoy college life through clubs and organizations, recreational and intramural sports, and community service activities.
Tuition and fees: $8,558 (in-state); $18,968 (out-of-state)
Acceptance rate: 65% Retention rate: 62% Graduation rate: 22%
Founded in 1871, Alcorn State University has certainly grown in size and stature! From its rural 1,756-acre campus, its 3,700-plus undergraduate students earn their degrees and enjoy their college life.
The university has seven schools, including:
- School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
- School of Arts and Sciences
- School of Business
- School of Education and Psychology
- School of Nursing (The university has one of the most comprehensive nursing programs in Mississippi
Aside from the undergraduate degree programs, the university also offers graduate and post-graduate degree programs. These include masters in biology, master of science in secondary education, and doctor of nursing practice.
Applicants should have a high school diploma from a recognized school or possess a GED certification and achieve a satisfactory ACT/SAT score for admission purposes.
Tuition, fees, and room and board: $9,124/term
Acceptance rate: 58% Retention rate: 75% Graduation rate: 21%
Baltimore Pike, Pennsylvania
Lincoln University has a fairly small student body – more than 2,000 students – but it’s a diverse one with students from both the U.S. and foreign countries. Most of its students are African-Americans, of course, but it’s notable for its early acceptance of women into its degree programs.
Students choose from numerous undergraduate and graduate degree programs as well as several non-degree courses. These programs are designed to provide students with a solid academic background and real-life skills to succeed after graduation. Several study programs, including accounting, anthropology, biochemistry, chemistry, criminal justice, engineering science, and Pan-Africana studies.
The university’s Horace Mann Bond Honors Program isn’t just an honors program. More importantly, it’s a community of scholars supported by world-class teachers!
Tuition and fees: $20,990
Acceptance rate: 83% Retention rate: 73% Graduation rate: 31%
HBCUs continue to be relevant in American society today for many reasons! African-Americans and other minorities are welcomed with open arms here, and that in itself is a good reason to enroll in your preferred HBCU.