Rising from a historic environment of legal segregation, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established prior to 1964 with the intention of offering accredited, high-quality education to African American students across the United States. These schools do, however, admit students of all races. Students can choose from 99 HBCUs across America, including public and private schools, two-year and four-year schools, and professional schools.

What are the best historically black colleges of 2020? Here are our top 10:

  1. North Carolina Central University - Durham, NC
  2. North Carolina A & T State University - Greensboro, NC
  3. Winston-Salem State University - Winston-Salem, NC
  4. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University - Tallahassee, FL
  5. Fayetteville State University - Fayetteville, NC
  6. Elizabeth City State University - Elizabeth City, NC
  7. Delaware State University - Dover, DE
  8. Howard University - Washington, DC
  9. Bowie State University - Bowie, MD
  10. Southern University at New Orleans - New Orleans, LA

What is a Historically Black College or University?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the term 'Historically Black College or University,' or HBCU for short, has been in use since the Higher Education Act was amended in 1965. HBCU refers to any accredited institution established prior to 1965 "whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans." However, HBCUs are committed to educating all students regardless of their race.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there were 102 HBCUs in the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2016. The first HBCUs were established in the 1830s, more than two decades before slavery was abolished in the U.S. The number of HBCUs has decreased since the 1930s, but has remained fairly steady since the 1980s. In 2016, the combined enrollment for all HBCUs was 292,000. HBCUs are fairly small compared to other colleges and universities, and more than half enroll 2,500 or fewer students.

Black student enrollment at HBCUs has declined since 1980, due in part to factors like desegregation, improved access to financial aid, and higher salaries among African Americans. In 1980, 17% of black students were enrolled at an HBCU, but this figure decreased to 9% by 2015. However, HBCUs still represent 15% of all bachelor's degrees conferred to black students in the U.S., according to the Pew Research Center.

What Are The Best Historically Black Colleges?

Rank School Location Cost Graduation Rate Description Toggle
1

North Carolina Central University

Durham, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 46%

Upon its founding in 1910, North Carolina Central University became the first state-supported liberal arts institution for black students in the nation. Today, NCCU enrolls more than 8,200 students each year on its Durham campus and hosts a number of flexible online and hybrid degree programs.

Comprised of nine academic colleges, NCCU offers more than two dozen bachelor's degrees and 45 master's degrees in subjects like computer science, theater, business administration, and mathematics. Students can also pursue biological and social science studies offered by the university's 13 research centers and institutes.

To apply, first-time freshmen must supply official high school transcripts and ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants should possess a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA on all prior college courses.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 29 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 6 online bachelor's degrees; 3 hybrid bachelor's degrees; 45 master's degrees

Tuition: $4,661/semester in-state; $11,014/semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus, 100% online, or hybrid (online/on campus)

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (919) 530-6100

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

2

North Carolina A & T State University

Greensboro, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 53%

The largest historically black university in the country, North Carolina A&T State University enrolls more than 12,000 students each year. The school also stands out as the largest educator of African American graduates in the fields of engineering and agriculture.

N.C. A&T's 10 academic colleges and departments offer 54 bachelor's programs, 29 master's degrees, and nine doctoral programs. Students can pursue degrees in education, technology, business, humanities, arts, and sciences -- including the only bachelor's in laboratory animal science available in North Carolina. Learners requiring scheduling flexibility can choose from several fully online options.

The average profile of incoming freshmen at N.C. A&T includes a 3.6 GPA, a 1040 SAT score, and an ACT score of 20. The university offers a number of merit-based scholarships.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 54 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 9 online bachelor's degrees; 29 master's degrees; 9 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $443-$1,770/semester in-state; $2,131-$8,525/semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (336) 334-7946

Email: uadmit@ncat.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

3

Winston-Salem State University

Winston-Salem, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 48%

Winston-Salem State University is the No. 1 school in the UNC system for both in-state job placement and highest median early-career income for undergraduates. More than 5,000 learners enroll each year, enjoying a low student-to-faculty ratio of 14-to-1.

Alongside 34 on-site bachelor's programs, WSSC offers four undergraduate degrees entirely online: clinical laboratory science, nursing, interdisciplinary studies, and birth-to-kindergarten education. The university also delivers graduate and postgraduate programs in fields like computer science, physical therapy, and healthcare administration.

Incoming freshmen must demonstrate a minimum 2.5 GPA and qualifying ACT or SAT scores (17 or 880, respectively). Transfer applicants should have at least 24 college credits with a minimum 2.0 GPA.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 34 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 4 online bachelor's degrees; 7 master's degrees; 3 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $425-$1,700/semester in-state; $1,706-$6,824/semester

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum; 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (336) 750-2074

Email: admissions@wssu.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

4

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Tallahassee, FL Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 51%

Listed among The Princeton Review's "Best in the Southeast," Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University serves approximately 10,000 students from diverse ethnic, socioeconomic, and religious backgrounds. Extensive research activity takes place within FAMU's Sustainability Institute, Center for Viticulture and Small Fruit Research, and other facilities.

Students can choose from more than 90 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs and participate in over 100 student clubs. Undergraduate fields with the highest enrollment include business administration, biology, criminal justice, and allied health.

Incoming freshmen must have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA (2.5 for transfer students). All applicants with fewer than 30 transferable credits should submit scores from the ACT or the SAT. Satellite locations in Orlando, Crestview, Tampa, Jacksonville, and Miami supplement the main campus in Tallahassee.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 59 bachelor's degrees; 29 master's degrees; 12 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $2,822/full-time semester in-state; $8,795/full-time semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 3.00 minimum; 2.50 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (855) 599-3796

Email: ugrdadmissions@famu.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

5

Fayetteville State University

Fayetteville, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

One of 12 historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina, Fayetteville State University educates more than 6,500 students each year. This comprehensive, public institution provides more than 60 programs at the baccalaureate, graduate, and doctoral levels and hosts 10 fully online degree-completion programs.

Notable offerings at FSU include the top nursing program in the state and an education program accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education that produces the eighth-most HBCU teachers in the nation. The college's honors program and undergraduate research program encourage students to grow and develop skills in leadership, analysis, and collaboration.

Undergraduate admission requirements include a minimum 2.5 GPA for freshmen and a minimum 2.0 GPA for transfer students. Freshmen and transfer applicants with fewer than 24 credits must provide ACT or SAT scores.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 40 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 10 online bachelor's degrees; 12 master's degrees; 1 doctoral degree

Tuition: $101/credit in-state; $252/credit out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum; 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (910) 672-1371

Email: admissions@uncfsu.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

6

Elizabeth City State University

Elizabeth City, NC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

Elizabeth City State University is one of the smallest institutions in the UNC system, with an annual enrollment of approximately 1,800 students. Like other historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina, ECSU is committed to affordable, high-quality education with core values of accountability, diversity, and excellence.

On campus, ECSU students can choose from 26 bachelor's programs and four master's degrees. The school offers online degree-completion programs in criminal justice, business administration, interdisciplinary studies, and homeland security. ECSU also delivers fully online degrees in homeland security and interdisciplinary studies. All students can engage in Greek life, intramural sports, cultural experiences, and a variety of campus clubs.

Incoming freshmen must demonstrate a minimum 2.5 GPA and submit qualifying ACT or SAT scores (minimum 17 or 880, respectively). Transfer applicants should possess a 2.0 cumulative college GPA.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 26 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 4 online bachelor's degrees; 4 master's degrees

Tuition: $125-$500/semester in-state; $625-$2,500/semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum; 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (877) 432-7662

Email: de@ecsu.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

7

Delaware State University

Dover, DE Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 40%

Located in Dover with additional campuses in Georgetown and Wilmington, Delaware State University enrolls approximately 4,800 students each year. The university consists of four academic colleges specializing in agriculture, science, and technology; humanities, education, and social sciences; business; and health and behavioral sciences.

Some of the popular undergraduate majors at DSU include kinesiology, criminal justice, mass communications, and management. The academic catalog boasts a total of 42 bachelor's programs, 16 master's, and five doctoral degrees. Four bachelor's programs offer flexible, online degree-completion options.

Incoming freshmen and transfer students should have a minimum 2.0 GPA for their prior academic experience. Minimum qualifying scores on the ACT and SAT are 17 and 800, respectively.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 42 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 4 online bachelor's degrees; 16 master's degrees; 5 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $4,129/full-time semester in-state; $8,647/full-time semester out-of-state; $356-$400/credit online

Credit Requirements: 120-122 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (302) 857-6060

Email: admissions@desu.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

8

Howard University

Washington, DC Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 62%

Since its founding in 1867, Howard University has awarded more than 120,000 degrees in the arts, sciences, and humanities. This private research university sits just two miles from the U.S. Capitol on a 256-acre campus and produces the largest number of African American medical school candidates in the nation.

Howard offers a diverse academic catalog featuring 47 bachelor's, 41 master's, and 33 doctoral programs. Available fields of study include African studies, criminology, human performance, and music. The university also houses 11 research institutes and centers and over 200 student organizations, including Greek life.

First-time freshmen must submit ACT or SAT scores, transcripts, and two letters of recommendation. Transfer applicants should possess a minimum 2.5 GPA.


School Overview

School Status: Private

Number of Programs: 47 bachelor's degrees; 41 master's degrees; 33 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $12,483/full-time semester

Credit Requirements: 120-134 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (202) 806-2755

Email: admission@howard.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

9

Bowie State University

Bowie, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 42%

Bowie State University was established in 1865 as Maryland's first historically black public university. The campus is centrally located near Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Annapolis. More than 6,000 students enroll each year, enjoying NCAA athletics, Greek life, over 50 student organizations, and dynamic cultural programming.

Students can select from 23 bachelor's, 19 master's, and two doctoral degrees in high-demand fields like nursing, cybersecurity, and education. A variety of special programs, including an entrepreneurship academy and scholar's studio, prepare learners for success outside the classroom.

The minimum GPA requirement for both freshmen and transfer applicants is 2.0. Qualifying ACT or SAT scores are required for all first-time students and transfer students with fewer than 24 college credits.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 23 bachelor's degrees; 19 master's degrees; 2 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $2,823/full-time semester in-state; $8,169/full-time semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-123 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (301) 860-3415

Email: ugradadmissions@bowiestate.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

10

Southern University at New Orleans

New Orleans, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 25%

Southern University at New Orleans was established in 1956 as a branch unit of Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge. After enduring temporary relocations due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the college has expanded and currently serves approximately 2,300 students each year.

SUNO offers four master's degrees and 18 bachelor's degrees, including criminal justice and general studies programs that students can complete online. Evening and weekend class options serve nontraditional students with daytime obligations. In addition, the university offers the state's only master's program in museum studies.

SUNO requires a minimum 2.0 GPA and submission of ACT or SAT scores for undergraduates. Applicants must have successfully completed a set of core high school courses, including two units of foreign language and one unit of arts.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 18 bachelor's degrees; 2 online bachelor's degrees; 4 master's degrees

Tuition: $3,599/full-time semester in-state; $4,450/full-time semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: 100% online

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (504) 286-5000

Email: admissions@suno.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

11

Prairie View A & M University

Prairie View, TX Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 35%

Prairie View A&M University is one of 10 historically black colleges and universities in Texas and the second-oldest, public higher education institution in the state. Originally created as a school for teacher training, PVAMU later expanded offerings to include arts and sciences, agriculture, mechanical arts, and nursing.

Today, the university serves more than 9,000 students and maintains a catalog of 36 bachelor's, 30 master's, and 5 doctoral degrees. Alongside programs in the arts, sciences, and humanities, PVAMU offers a highly selective honors program and undergraduate medical academy.

PVAMU requires ACT or SAT scores, a 2.8 minimum GPA for incoming freshmen, and a 2.0 minimum GPA for transfer students. Select programs and academic colleges feature additional requirements, such as a 3.0 minimum GPA for engineering applicants.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 36 bachelor's degrees; 30 master's degrees; 5 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $282-$3,395/semester in-state; $759-$10,550/semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.8 minimum; 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (936) 261-1000

Email: admissions@pvamu.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

12

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

Pine Bluff, AR Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 29%

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is the second-oldest public institution in Arkansas. With an enrollment of approximately 2,600 students each year, the college features a main campus, an extended campus, a global research and education network, and offices throughout the state.

UPAPB offers 31 bachelor's programs, six master's degrees, and one doctoral degree. Students can select from a variety of majors such as digital media art, international business, special education, and the state's only comprehensive aquaculture program. All undergraduates complete a career and life planning course as part of the core curriculum.

The university requires prospective freshmen to have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and to submit ACT (preferred) or SAT scores with their application.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 31 bachelor's degrees; 6 master's degrees; 1 doctoral degree

Tuition: $171/credit in-state; $388/credit out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (870) 575-8492

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

13

Hampton University

Hampton, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 58%

Hampton University is a private, nonprofit university located on 314 acres along the banks of the Hampton River at the Chesapeake Bay. Founded in 1868 to provide education to freedmen, Hampton U boasts the nation's oldest African American museum, 16 research centers, and several historic buildings.

More than 4,000 students enroll at Hampton U each year, pursuing 40 bachelor's, 22 master's, and eight doctoral degrees. The university offers eight bachelor's programs completely online, including one- and two-year accelerated RN-to-BSN pathways.

Hampton U practices a test-optional admission policy for incoming freshmen with a cumulative 3.3 GPA or top 10% class rank. Transfer applicants should possess a minimum 2.5 GPA on any prior college coursework.


School Overview

School Status: Private

Number of Programs: 40 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 8 online bachelor's degrees; 22 master's degrees; 1 education specialist degree; 8 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $24,950/year

Credit Requirements: 120-123 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.5 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (757) 727-5328

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

14

Norfolk State University

Norfolk, VA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 37%

Founded in 1935, Norfolk State University is one of five historically black colleges and universities in Virginia and a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. The 134-acre campus houses a student-run radio station and numerous research facilities.

NSU offers 31 bachelor's degrees, including seven fully online programs and the state's only program in optical engineering. Students can choose to major in areas such as social work, business, fine arts, and naval science. If they choose, they can join one of 13 specialized learning communities for greater academic and personal engagement.

The university takes into consideration applicants' academic performance, ACT/SAT scores, special talents, leadership, motivation and character, and recommendation letters. Transfer students must have a minimum 2.0 GPA.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 31 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 7 online bachelor's degrees; 45 master's degrees

Tuition: $2,876-$4,010/full-time semester in-state; $8,460-$10,436/full-time semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (757) 823-8396

Email: admission@nsu.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

15

Southern University and A & M College

Baton Rouge, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 30%

Southern University and A&M College is the largest historically black college in Louisiana, encompassing a 512-acre campus and a 372-acre agriculture center in Baton Rouge. SU is the only school in the state offering a Ph.D. in nursing and one of only two public universities with a law school.

The university delivers 34 bachelor's, 14 master's, and five doctoral degrees. SU provides a number of undergraduate and graduate programs fully online, including a customizable bachelor's in interdisciplinary studies. More than 96% of the university's academic programs hold national accreditation from a specialized organization or association.

For full admission, applicants must hold a minimum 2.0 GPA. Freshmen and transfer applicants with fewer than 18 college credits must supply qualifying ACT or SAT scores (20 or 1030, respectively).


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 34 bachelor's degrees; 4 online bachelor's degrees; 14 master's degrees; 5 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $3,487/full-time semester in-state; $7,162/full-time semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (225) 771-4500

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

16

Bluefield State College

Bluefield, WV Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 26%

Although African American students comprise just 10% of its total enrollment, Bluefield State College retains its status as a historically black college. The public, four-year institution hosts numerous activities and organizations on campus but does not provide dormitories or other housing options.

Students can choose from six associate degrees and 16 bachelor's degrees in the arts and sciences, nursing, education, business, engineering technology, and computer science. BSC's school of business is the only nationally accredited institution of its kind in the region. Learners requiring additional flexibility can access online courses and satellite campus classrooms.

Prospective students must have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and submit qualifying ACT or SAT scores (18 or 970, respectively). Nursing and allied health programs require separate admission.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 16 bachelor's degrees

Tuition: $312/credit in-state; $598/credit out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-123 credits

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (304) 327-4000

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

17

Jackson State University

Jackson, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 43%

Jackson State University serves more than 8,000 students each year, making it one of the largest historically black universities in the nation by enrollment. JSU is a member of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, classified as a high research activity university, and home to the NCAA Division I Tigers athletic teams.

Students can choose from a substantial academic catalog of 40 bachelor's programs, 35 master's degrees, four education specialist programs, and 13 doctoral degrees. JSU offers fully online degree-completion options for five of its undergraduate programs, including healthcare administration, criminal justice, and professional interdisciplinary studies.

To secure full admission, first-time freshmen must possess a minimum 2.0 GPA and an ACT score of 18 or better (or an equivalent SAT score). Transfer students can apply up to 62 credits toward a JSU degree.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 40 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 5 online bachelor's degrees; 35 master's degrees; 4 education specialist degrees; 13 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $345-$4,135/semester in-state; $845-$4,635/semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (601) 979-0928

Email: admappl@jsums.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

18

Lincoln University

Lincoln University, PA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 47%

Founded in 1854, the former Ashmun Institute was the nation's first degree-granting, historically black college. The school was renamed in honor of President Abraham Lincoln in 1866. Today, Lincoln University welcomes more than 2,000 students to the Chester County, Pennsylvania campus each year.

Students can access most undergraduate fields of study at Lincoln through both bachelor of arts and bachelor of science options that comprise a total of 57 undergraduate programs. The most popular majors include human services, digital communication and media/multimedia, health science, criminal justice, and management. Lincoln also features four master's programs.

The university accepts applications from any prospective freshmen who have completed their junior year of high school or received a GED credential. Transfer applicants must possess a minimum of 12 college credits and a 2.0 GPA.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 57 bachelor's degrees; 4 master's degrees

Tuition: $4,013/semester full-time in-state; $6,698/semester full-time out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-146 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (484) 365-8000

Email: admissions@lincoln.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

19

Xavier University of Louisiana

New Orleans, LA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 49%

Xavier University of Louisiana stands out as the only historically black college in the U.S. with a Roman Catholic affiliation. Though the private institution carries a mission to serve the African American Catholic community, students from all religious backgrounds are welcome. Xavier's annual enrollment typically exceeds 3,000.

The university consists of a college of arts and sciences, a college of pharmacy, a graduate school, and four centers and institutes geared toward research, global connections, and theological education. Students can choose from more than 75 undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as biochemistry, counseling, foreign language, and music performance.

First-time freshmen applicants must provide transcripts, SAT or ACT scores, and a counselor recommendation. Transfer applicants should possess a minimum 2.0 GPA on prior college coursework.


School Overview

School Status: Private

Number of Programs: 61 bachelor's degrees; 13 master's degrees; 2 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $21,954/full-time semester (College of Arts & Sciences); $33,793/full-time semester (College of Pharmacy)

Credit Requirements: 120-139 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (504) 520-7388

Email: apply@xula.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

20

Albany State University

Albany, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 19%

As a result of the 2015 merger of Albany State University and Darton State College, ASU now includes two campuses in Albany, Georgia (East and West) and a satellite campus in Cordele. This public, historically black university enrolls more than 6,000 students each year.

ASU boasts more than 60 on-campus, fully online, and blended education options for undergraduate and graduate students. The school's social work, nursing, and health and human performance programs allow learners to complete all general education coursework through distance education. Campus engagement opportunities include Greek life, clubs and organizations, and community service.

Applicants should possess a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and submit qualifying ACT or SAT scores. ASU defines transfer students as those with 30 or more transferable credits.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 28 bachelor's degrees; 6 online bachelor's degrees; 11 master's degrees; 1 education specialist degree

Tuition: $169/credit in-state; $616/credit out-of-state; $177/credit online

Credit Requirements: 120-126 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On-campus 100% online, or hybrid (online/on campus)

Instruction Style: Synchronous, asynchronous, or synchronous and asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (229) 500-4358

Email: admissions@asurams.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

21

Coppin State University

Baltimore, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 24%

Coppin State University was founded in 1900 as a normal school for the preparation of African American elementary school educators. Today, the 53-acre, residential campus in northwest Baltimore serves nearly 3,000 students in daytime, evening, weekend, and online courses.

The CSU catalog consists of 36 bachelor's, 10 master's, and one doctoral degree. Students can choose from majors in fields such as accounting, dance, nonprofit leadership, and urban recreation. High-achieving learners can apply for CSU's selective honors program, which provides faculty mentoring, cultural enrichment, and an immersive learning community experience.

CSU requires prospective freshmen and transfer students with fewer than 30 credits to submit high school transcripts and SAT or ACT scores. Transfer applicants must possess a minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 36 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 1 online bachelor's degree; 10 master's degrees; 1 doctoral degree

Tuition: $2,324/full-time semester in-state; $5,522/full-time semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (410) 951-3000

Email: admissions@coppin.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

22

Spelman College

Atlanta, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 75%

Spelman College is a private women's college with an enrollment of 2,100 students and a 76% graduation rate. Founded in 1881 as a Baptist seminary, this HBCU in Atlanta, Georgia gained its collegiate charter in 1924. The institution provides academic opportunities in the liberal arts and sciences.

Spelman's undergraduate offerings include more than 70 majors and minors in diverse fields such as documentary filmmaking, education studies, religious studies, and economics. Sophomores with a 3.0 GPA can also apply for entrance into the independent major program, designed to accommodate broad, interdisciplinary interests and career goals.

Spelman does not hold a set standard of grades or test scores for applicants. However, accepted students demonstrate the following average profile: 3.8 GPA, 1209 ACT, and 25 SAT.


School Overview

School Status: Private

Number of Programs: 34 bachelor's degrees

Tuition: $12,971/full-time semester

Credit Requirements: 120 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (404) 270-5193

Email: admiss@spelman.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

23

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Princess Anne, MD Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 39%

Since its founding in 1886, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore has grown from a 16-acre private school to a public university with a sprawling, 1,100-acre campus. More than 3,000 students attend classes each year and take advantage of opportunities in NCAA Division I and intramural sports, Greek life, and dozens of organizations.

Learners can select from 37 bachelor's, 15 master's, and eight doctoral degree programs. The most popular undergraduate majors at UMES include criminal justice, biology, exercise science, sociology, and human ecology. Students can also participate in research opportunities in agriculture, including study of offshore fisheries, food safety, and crop science.

UMES practices test-optional undergraduate admissions. Transfer applicants must possess a minimum of 24 credits and a 2.0 GPA.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 37 bachelor's degrees; 15 master's degrees; 8 doctoral degrees

Tuition: $2,709/full-time semester in-state; $7,914/full-time semester out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-131 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum for transfer students

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT (optional)

Contact

Phone: (410) 651-6410

Email: umesadmissions@umes.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

24

Savannah State University

Savannah, GA Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 28%

Established in 1890, Savannah State University is the oldest public, historically black university in the state of Georgia. The school regularly secures grant funding for significant research activity, including laboratory work related to Alzheimer's disease and organic materials and long-distance space travel.

Students can select their preferred pathway from 31 bachelor's degrees -- including one fully online option in business -- and six master's degrees. The 125-credit bachelor's in homeland security and emergency management is the only program of its kind in the region. Other available fields of study at SSU include fine arts, public administration, education, and marine science.

All prospective undergraduates should have a minimum 2.0 GPA. Freshmen and transfer students with fewer than 30 credits must submit ACT or SAT scores.


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 31 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 1 online bachelor's degree; 6 master's degrees

Tuition: $165/credit in-state; $601/credit out-of-state

Credit Requirements: 120-125 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus or 100% online

Instruction Style: Synchronous or asynchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (912) 351-4338

Email: admissions@savannahstate.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

25

Alcorn State University

Alcorn State, MS Cost: $$$$$ Graduation Rate: 40%

Nearly 4,000 students attend classes across Alcorn State University's three locations in Lorman, Natchez, and Vicksburg, Mississippi. The campus hosts more than 40 student clubs and organizations, including special-interest groups, student government, and honor societies. The university is the oldest public, historically black land-grant institution in the country.

From modest beginnings in 1871, Alcorn has become an institution that today offers 37 diverse bachelor's degrees, 46 master's degrees, two education specialist degrees, and one doctoral program. Available fields of study include agriculture, nursing, humanities, and science. Students can enhance their education through study abroad, research participation, and community outreach opportunities.

Prospective learners must have a minimum 2.0 high school GPA and a minimum score of 18 on the ACT (or SAT equivalent).


School Overview

School Status: Public

Number of Programs: 37 on-campus bachelor's degrees; 2 online bachelor's degrees; 46 master's degrees; 2 education specialist degrees; 1 doctoral degree

Tuition: $304/credit in-state

Credit Requirements: 120-128 credits (bachelor's)

Schedule: Semester

Delivery

Format: On campus

Instruction Style: Synchronous

Admission Requirements

GPA: 2.0 minimum

Standardized Tests: ACT or SAT

Contact

Phone: (601) 877-6148

Email: admissions@alcorn.edu

Social Media Accounts: Facebook; Twitter

How to Choose a Historically Black College

As with selecting any college or university, choosing the right HBCU requires extensive research. Students should peruse the list of current HBCUs and identify institutions that award degrees in their desired career field.

Once they have a list of possible schools, students should compare their top picks based on factors like location, school and class size and overall cost (see bullets below). Additionally, students should research 'student outcome' data for each of their selected HBCUs. Student outcomes include retention rates, or the number of students that return after each academic year, as well as graduation and graduate employment rates. Another important outcome is 'debt default,' which measures the number of students that are forced to default on their student loan payments after they have graduated (often because they are unable to find work).

It's important to note that HBCUs are open to students of all races. As fewer black students have enrolled at HBCUs since 1980, these institutions have experienced an uptick in the number of non-black students. The Pew Research Center notes that, in 2015, white, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American students represented 17% of students enrolled at HBCUs. In particular, the number of Hispanic students has risen by a considerable margin over the last four decades. Hispanics represented 1.8% of students enrolled at HBCUs in 1980, and this figure rose to 4.6% in 2015.

Location

School location may impact education costs for HBCU students, particularly out-of-state students, who usually pay higher tuition rates than 'in-state' students. Becoming an in-state student typically requires at least one year of established residency in the state where the college or university is located. In addition to traditional brick-and-mortar campuses, many HBCUs offer online courses and degree programs that students can access anywhere in the country. Online students often pay a flat tuition rate, regardless of their state of residence.

School Size and Type

The largest HBCUs enroll between 12,000 and 7,500 new students each year, but more than half of all HBCUs have an overall enrollment of 2,500 or fewer students. Public universities tend to have higher enrollment numbers and larger campuses, and their student-to-faculty ratios tend to be less favorable. In contrast, private colleges typically have lower enrollment numbers, smaller campuses and more favorable student-to-faculty ratios.

Degree Program Availability

HBCUs are considered especially suitable for students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields. According to the United Negro College Fund, 25% of African American STEM graduates come from HBCUs. However, due to the diverse selection of HBCUs, students should be able to pinpoint several institutions with degree programs that reflect their career aspirations. Some HBCUs offer specialization or concentration degree programs that allow students to focus their studies on a niche area of their career field.

Cost

The cost of attending an HBCU will depend on several factors, such as the student's state residency and whether they live on- or off-campus. All students are encouraged to complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form before they begin college. The FAFSA uses factors (such as the student's household income) to determine their eligibility for federal loans, grants and other forms of financial aid. Students must submit their FAFSA at certain times to meet rolling deadlines. Those planning to attend college during the 2019-20 academic year may submit their FAFSA between Oct. 1, 2018, and June 30, 2020. In addition, students can browse scholarship opportunities using our African American Scholarships Guide.


Interviews

William Hudson, Jr., Ph.D.

William Hudson, Jr., Ph.D.

Vice President of Student Affairs, Florida A&M University

William Hudson, Jr., Ph.D., is a proud alumnus of the institution and also serves as a professor focusing on educating students in the areas of rehabilitation, disability, vocational training and services, community transition, and empowerment. Dr. Hudson is a specialist in the recruitment and retention of minority students and has a national presence in these arenas. He received his bachelor's degree in psychology and master's degree in counseling education from FAMU. He went on to earn a specialist degree in counseling and human services and a Ph.D. in rehabilitation counseling from Florida State University.

What are the three aspects that make attending a HBCU a unique college experience?

At HBCUs, particularly FAMU, students receive the benefit of learning with and from individuals who have diverse perspectives and backgrounds. Students also experience a family-oriented environment and have unlimited opportunities to gain hands-on, real-world experience.

What are the two most important attributes or characteristics a student should consider when selecting a HBCU experience and why?

Two of the most important areas to consider when selecting an HBCU include (1) the quality of academic programs and faculty and (2) the professional development, scholarship, and networking opportunities. At FAMU, we offer some of the highest ranked programs in the nation and a legacy of alumni who have emerged as leaders in public service, civil rights and law, entertainment, environmental science, medicine, arts, engineering, business, journalism, architecture, and more. We have also been nationally recognized for the scholarship opportunities we offer our students.

In what ways do you suggest students considering applying to a HBCU begin their research and connect with HBCU admissions and faculty?

Students should attend campus tours and recruitment events, as well as research the institution's website and social media platforms to get a better feel for its academic offerings and campus life. They should also talk to alumni and recent graduates about their experiences. At FAMU, we host preview days in the fall and spring for interested students, open our campus for college tours year-round, travel across the country to offer recruitment fairs, our alumni host informational events in their areas, and we now offer a virtual-360 interactive tour of our campus.

Why are HBCUs important in America today?

At HBCUs like FAMU, we produce leaders that bring to the table a more global approach to thinking and decision-making. HBCUs offer an open-arm approach that helps students feel comfortable and confident in who they are. The research and teaching that occurs on our campus helps provide profound solutions to some of the world's greatest issues.

Do you believe more HBCUs should offer online education programs?

At FAMU, we continue to expand our online education platform. Often students who attend HBCUs are holding down part-time and full-time jobs and online education offers them the flexibility needed to complete their degrees on time. Online education gives individuals who are already well into their careers an opportunity to return to school to further their education. We also serve the millennial generation and the internet plays a big role in their day-to-day lives, so it is imperative that they have the option to attend courses online.

How can online students benefit from taking their programs from a HBCU?

At FAMU, our online students get the same personal touch that our students on-campus receive. Their instructors are the same highly credentialed educators that lead our classrooms every day. They are getting access to the best programs and other necessary resources, just like any other student.


Illai Kenney

Illai Kenney

Co-Founder and National Partnership Director of the HBCU Green Fund, Inc.

Along with a millennial board of directors, Illai Kenney is a co-founder and National Partnership Director of the HBCU Green Fund, Inc., a new 501C3 organization created to help finance green infrastructure and renewable energy projects at historically black colleges and universities. Illai gained valuable experience serving as a Program Manager in the Howard University Office of Sustainability since graduation from Howard University.

Illai is an internationally recognized environmental and social justice youth activist; her first public speech was at the Million Youth Movement Rally at the age of nine and she co-founded the Georgia Kids Against Pollution when she was 12. The Brower award winner attracted global media attention for challenging Coca-Cola over water practices in India and for speaking up about poverty at the UN Summit on Sustainability in South Africa.

Illai was among the many activists gassed at the traumatic Ferguson March that underscored Black Lives Matter. She served as an organizer with Black Youth Vote to promote youth civic engagement and as a Green Ambassador with the Toyota Green Initiative and Green for All. Illai has traveled to Senegal, Ghana, Europe, and Venezuela. She volunteered with Hearts for Africa in Malawi and went to Ghana with the Morehouse College MPAGE program where she worked on sustainable development projects.

Can you tell us a little about your academic journey and the process you went through while applying to college?

I went about applying to college in what I'd consider all the wrong ways. In fact, I only applied to two schools. I knew what I wanted to study (entertainment/media and law) so I found programs that would allow me to do that. I did not enjoy the application process, but I got through it with a lot of help from my mom. In high school, my grades were pretty average, mostly because I was academically unchallenged. I graduated with a 3.0, but I scored a 1930 on my combined SAT. I believe my SAT scores helped me get admitted to Howard.

What factors lead you to choose a historically black college and university for college?

My mom and godmother are both Howard alumna. I went to pre-K at Howard. Though I don't remember much about those days, I do remember meeting Nelson Mandela when he came to Howard. The grand nature of the school, the fact that they offered a degree in what I wanted to study, and that they offered a plethora of other majors in case I changed my mind helped me decide on Howard. The fact that Howard is a place where you can engage with elite black thinkers in any field of study was also a huge draw. Looking back, I understand that being in a space where being black wasn't different was good for me. Being on a campus where being black and exceptional were simply the starting point forced me to elevate my entire self.

What are the two most important attributes or characteristics a student should consider when selecting an HBCU experience and why?

My key questions are: where, why, and for what? Where you want to live is extremely important. If you hate city life, you probably won't like a school like Howard because it is smack dab in the middle of a big, busy city. If you're like me and don't want to live in the south, you'll love it. And being where you want is very important when you're paying to be there.

Why are you going? If you want to study agricultural sciences, then an HBCU that doesn't offer a program that gives you a robust experience is not the way to go. You must know why you're attending because the why is your purpose and will keep you focused.

Lastly, I ask for what? For what goes deeper and further than why. It looks at what your long-term goals are as well as what you need for yourself. If you aren't big on religion, then a school that is may not be a fit for you. But if religion is a cornerstone for your life, then a school that endeavors to develop their students spiritually would be right up your alley. In terms of career desire, if you know that you want to get involved in national politics, then you should attend a school that makes it easy to do so. Being in DC at Howard might be better than being in Alabama, for example.

How did attending a HBCU shape your college experience?

Attending an HBCU gave me lifelong memories and friendships. I know people in many corners of the world because of my time at Howard. Attending an HBCU made me mentally strong and it taught me to follow through until my goals are accomplished.

Why do you think HBCUs are important in America today?

HBCUs are important because black lives matter. There are few places on Earth where the black life in its entirety is enjoyed, examined, and advanced and the HBCU campus is one of them. When I co-founded the HBCU Green Fund to help HBCUs advance their sustainability goals and position themselves for the future, it was with an understanding that HBCUs are essential to not just black people, but to all people, because when black people advance, we lift as we climb.

What are ways online students can benefit from taking their programs from an HBCU?

Online students can benefit from tapping in to the HBCU network and attending classes with students and professors who have shared experiences.

Resources for African American Students

Thank you for visiting our guide to the best Historically Black Colleges and Universities. For more information, please check out the links below. These resources are tailored to African American students, and designed to assist them in different areas over the course of their higher education experience.

Our list of scholarships

This is the definitive list of scholarships available to African American students. In addition to the list, you'll find plenty of advice on how to apply for scholarships and how to stand out from other applicants

HBCU Lifestyle

This comprehensive guide to HBCU education includes resources for African American students and parents, as well as an 'Alumni Spotlight' feature and career resources for degree-holding job-seekers.

The Princeton Review

This article from the Princeton Review titled, 'Considering Historically Black Colleges and Universities,' offers tips for choosing the right HBCU ― or, for some, a non-HBCU school that offers the same opportunities and inclusive learning environment.

CollegeXpress

This guide from CollegeXpress lists 10 reasons why students should consider enrolling at an HBCU. These include supportive faculty members, an inclusive environment, courses tailored to black students and strong alumni support networks.

HBCU Digest

With more than 2 million annual readers, this aggregator website includes an extensive archive of articles and blog posts related to HBCUs and the black student experience. HBCU Digest is also home to four podcast series.

The United Negro College Fund

Established in 1944, the UNCF awards scholarships and other types of financial aid to students attending 37 different HBCUs in the U.S. UNCF member institutions account for more than 60,000 college graduates each year.