Best HBCU Online Programs

When choosing HBCU online programs, consider degree offerings, course schedules, and the possibility of earning your degree faster.
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Online programs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) offer the same sense of community and purpose as on-campus programs but with greater flexibility to earn a degree on your schedule. Students can enjoy lower costs, greater diversity, and a stronger sense of purpose from the exceptional educational programs offered by HBCUs.

Representing nearly 2.79 million online students — almost 15% of all U.S. postsecondary learners — online degrees are widely accepted. When choosing an HBCU, look at degree offerings, courses, professors, and schedules to find the best fit. Be sure to consider the total costs associated with accelerated program options.

Below is a rankings list with the best HBCU online programs, including specific degree offerings to help you find the best fit.

Who Should Consider Attending an HBCU Online?

If you have a strong community, family, work, or other ties that make moving to college difficult, attending online courses at an HBCU can be more beneficial than an on-campus learning experience. With online HBCUs, you benefit from exceptional institutions adapted to your learning style, schedule needs, or other personal requirements.

Benefits students can see from attending an HBCU online include:

Diversity

HBCUs encourage diversity of students from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, offering a unique educational experience. Students from diverse backgrounds can build a community and sense of belonging, leading to better education outcomes. Additionally, HBCUs typically have a more diverse faculty who can be more connected to cultural communities.

Sense of purpose

HBCUs offer a strong, communal foundation, direction, and sense of belonging that can translate to greater success. As a part of this, students may find a closer community at HBCUs, both online and on-campus. This can include community events, student services, and specific degree programs.

A 2015 Gallup study found that black graduates of HBCUs have a greater sense of purpose and more financial success. Black graduates of HBCUs are also more satisfied with their overall college experience.

Lower costs

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) estimates that HBCU tuition is 30% lower than comparable institutions. With soaring student debt rates, these lower costs can make education at an HBCU more accessible.

2023 Best HBCU Online Programs

How We Rank Schools

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

These rankings were compiled by our BestColleges Ranking Team and include BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site. from our partners. We use publicly available provisional datasets from Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to inform the data for these schools. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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#1 Best HBCU Online Programs

Bluefield State College

  • Bluefield, WV
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Bluefield State University, based in West Virginia, was founded and still designated as an HBCU; however, its student body is 75% white and only 10% Black, and 90% of the faculty are white. BSU aims to prepare students for diverse professions, community involvement, and public service. It has four colleges that confer degrees: STEM; business; nursing and allied health; and education, humanities, and social sciences.

BSU's online bachelor programs include business administration, Christian studies, criminal justice, cybersecurity, early childhood education, elementary education, special education, leadership and innovation, ministry leadership, nursing, and psychology and human services. 

Bluefield State University offers affordability and a low debt burden on graduates, along with service to military personnel and the option to utilize a beautiful Appalachian Mountain campus.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,488
Out-of-state
$14,352
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
60%
Admission Rate
90%
Students Enrolled
1,243
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#2 Best HBCU Online Programs

Hampton University

  • Hampton, VA
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Hampton University, based in Virginia, aims to promote learning and character-building to prepare students for positions of leadership and service. The school offers financial aid and scholarships for those who qualify, potentially reducing tuition costs. 

Hampton U online programs include 11 bachelor's programs, two master's degrees, and four Ph.D. tracks, as well as various associate degrees and certificates. Their bachelor programs include general studies, business and legal studies, aviation management, nursing, and human resources.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$26,198
Out-of-state
$26,198
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,099
Out-of-state
$13,099
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
72%
Admission Rate
36%
Students Enrolled
3,516
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
11% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Best HBCU Online Programs

Alabama State University

  • Montgomery, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Alabama State, based in Montgomery, Alabama, is known for its extensive degree programs that foster critical thought and encourage artistic creativity. ASU offers two online bachelor's degrees in marketing and psychology and online master's degrees in accounting, rehabilitation counseling, or five education specializations.

ASU also offers a Ph.D. program and an Ed.D. program in educational leadership, policy, and law. Attending ASU online gives students academic and personal support to promote self-development and learning at their own pace.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$8,328
Out-of-state
$16,656
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$7,416
Out-of-state
$14,832
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
62%
Admission Rate
99%
Students Enrolled
4,072
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
95% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best HBCU Online Programs

Talladega College

  • Talladega, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Talladega College, based in Talladega, Alabama, offers both undergraduate and graduate online graduate degrees. It offers low tuition and fees with a strong academic environment. 

Talladega College also has a FASTtrack Program for adults age 23 and older to transfer credits and finish a bachelor's degree online in as little as 18 months. The degree choices include business and organizational management, criminal justice, psychology, or computer information systems.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$12,130
Out-of-state
$12,130
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$16,000
Out-of-state
$16,000
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
1,156
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
94% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Best HBCU Online Programs

Voorhees College

  • Denmark, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Voorhees College, based in Denmark, South Carolina, is known for pioneering education for African Americans in the early 1900s. Today, Voorhees now offers all 16 of its academic programs completely online. Students gain easy access to diverse learning that blends a sense of control, self-direction, and goal-focused motivation with convenience and flexibility. 

Voorhees University also offers opportunities for accelerated programs where students can take two courses every eight weeks to graduate sooner. Voorhees is a great choice for students looking for flexible learning and affordable tuition. Their undergraduate degrees include business and management, sociology and communications, various sciences, and emergency management.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$11,630
Out-of-state
$11,630
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
55%
Admission Rate
Not provided
Students Enrolled
368
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#6 Best HBCU Online Programs

Claflin University

  • Orangeburg, SC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Claflin University is a small private university located on a rural campus in Orangeburg, South Carolina. It is the oldest HBCU in the state. CU offers online bachelor's degrees in criminal justice, organizational management, psychology, and nursing, as well as master's degrees in business administration, criminal justice, education, and nursing. 

CU emphasizes innovation, leadership, and student success with small class sizes, personalized attention, competitive tuition rates, and flexible schedules. 

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$16,476
Out-of-state
$16,476
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$11,653
Out-of-state
$11,653
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
70%
Admission Rate
65%
Students Enrolled
2,048
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
10% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 Best HBCU Online Programs

Oakwood University

  • Huntsville, AL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Oakwood University, based in Huntsville, Alabama, is a private, Seventh-Day Adventist HBCU. that consistently ranks in lists for the best regional universities. The curriculum emphasizes biblically-based education for service to God and humanity. Oakwood is a great choice for students searching for a Christian-based education .

Oakwood University offers several undergraduate degrees across five colleges and four online graduate degree programs in public health, urban ministries, business administration, and pastoral studies. It also offers an online LEAP adult degree completion program in organizational management, information technology, psychology, church leadership, or general studies.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$18,974
Out-of-state
$18,974
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$13,680
Out-of-state
$13,680
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
89%
Students Enrolled
1,374
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
81% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Best HBCU Online Programs

Delaware State University

  • Dover, DE
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Delaware State University, based in Dover, Delaware, is a public land-grant research university with four colleges. DSU online offers seven undergraduate degrees: accounting, human resource management, liberal studies, management, psychology, public health, or social work.

DSU also offers six online master's degrees in business administration, educational leadership, nursing, public administration, social work, and sports administration, and an Ed.D. in education. Consider DSU for its low tuition and strong online network that connects students to college community life.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$7,038
Out-of-state
$16,960
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$5,160
Out-of-state
$11,376
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
74%
Admission Rate
39%
Students Enrolled
4,739
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
65% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
#9 Best HBCU Online Programs

Central State University

  • Wilberforce, OH
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Central State University, Ohio's only HBCU, is a small public university located in Wilberforce, Ohio, that offers affordable tuition and small class sizes, making it an attractive option for many students. 

Currently, Central State University offers six online bachelor's degrees in business administration, criminal justice, interdisciplinary studies, educational studies, primary (PK-5) education, and intervention specialist education. It also offers an online MBA program in agricultural education Johnson C Smith University (JCSU): Acceptance Rate, Rankings & More and cybersecurity certificates.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,306
Out-of-state
$6,306
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
56%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
4,021
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
96% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Higher Learning Commission
#10 Best HBCU Online Programs

Johnson C Smith University

  • Charlotte, NC
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Johnson C Smith University, in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a private university associated with the Presbyterian Church. It's known for integrating the liberal arts with business, innovation, and educating socially conscious leaders. JCSU is a great choice for its exceptionally low student-to-faculty ratio and personalized attention. 

JCSU offers online degrees through the Metropolitan College of Professional Studies. Undergraduate online degree options are business administration, criminology, interdisciplinary studies, and sports management.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$16,014
Out-of-state
$16,014
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$17,798
Out-of-state
$17,798
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
65%
Admission Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
1,306
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
4% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Frequently Asked Questions about Online HBCU Programs

Can I earn the same degree online as I would through a traditional on-campus program?

Yes, at many HBCUs, you can earn the same degree online as you would through a traditional on-campus program. The good news is that online degrees are now widely accepted as offering the same rigorous academic standards as traditional degrees.

While only some colleges offer the same online degree programs as traditional degree programs, check with your university for specific program offerings. For most degrees, colleges now offer an online degree, allowing the flexibility to get a degree from anywhere.

Is an online HBCU degree the same as a traditional HBCU degree?

Yes! Generally, HBCUs offer many of the same degree programs as traditional HBCU degrees. An online degree carries the same authority as a degree from an on-campus program. If you need flexibility but want HBCU programs, an online degree offers the best of both worlds.

Both employers and universities now recognize that an online degree offers the same exceptional standards as a traditional degree. With an accredited degree, you'll be able to use it to land a job or apply for graduate school.

How is an online program typically structured?

In some cases, online programs closely resemble traditional college courses, including participation in courses, homework and required reading, and final papers or other assignments. Online programs can be either synchronous or asynchronous.

With online programs, there are usually definitely options for course structures, from taking a single course for 5 weeks to taking multiple courses simultaneously for 16 weeks. Students may find one is better than the other for their learning style. Make sure to check the suggested schedule of the programs you're interested in to see what is offered.

Are all HBCU online programs accelerated?

No. Some HBCU online programs allow students to select their course load and credit amount, potentially creating an accelerated program. Others offer dedicated accelerated programs or the option to take summer courses. However, most online programs follow a schedule comparable to traditional degree programs.

Distance learning allows students to earn a degree through an online program adapted to various schedules and responsibilities. This can mean taking a larger course load, opting for summer courses, or an evening and weekend schedule for those who want to graduate faster.