Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU)

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What Is A Historically Black College (HBCU)?

Historically Black Colleges and Universities’s (HBCU) are colleges and universities created or founded with the intention of serving the African American community in the United States. According to the Higher Education Act of 1965, these are institutions which are nationally accredited and were formed before 1964 for the purpose of providing quality education to black Americans. While these institutions have a focus on the education of black Americans it is important to note that they are legally open to people of any race, religion or gender.

The First HBCU

The earliest historically black colleges and universities were formed pre-civil war, the first being Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Started in 1837 and still running to this day, the Cheyney University was established to educate people of African descent and prepare them primarily to become teachers.

The founders of Cheyney University were abolitionists concerned with the ability of African Americans to make a reasonable living in a discriminatory society. Upon hearing news of race riots against freed black Americans, Richard Humphreys left money in his will for the formation of the university with instructions to create an institute of higher learning for the betterment of black Americans across a host of skills and topics.

The Rise of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

After Cheyney, other schools slowly began popping up, many of which were formed and funded by religious groups seeking to help elevate the general education and well-being of African Americans. While a few institutions joined Cheyney in being formed before the civil war, the majority were not formed until after the war’s end. In 1890 Congress passed the second Morrill Act, requiring states to offer land grants for black schools if there were not already being offered. As this became enacted more HBCU’s came into existence across the country, including many which are now well-known and widely respected.

HBCU’s Today

Today there are 107 recognized historically black colleges and universities. While there are benefits and drawbacks to any college or university, depending on its educational quality, history, and tradition, HBCU’s offer a unique experience of the higher education opportunity.

For those seeking to continue on into a graduate program, an HBCU undergraduate degree communicates to admissions boards the diversity of experience that students will bring with them into a graduate program. This often plays to a potential graduate student’s advantage as schools like to keep their student bodies diverse for the sake of enriched discourse and learning. While this can be a positive thing in some cases, people may feel as if students might be exchanging more typically diverse college campuses for a more homogeneous HBCU.

Given the variety of quality among HBCU schools (as with any other college or university) there are rarely concrete positive and negatives that are attributed solely to HBCU. This being the case, the benefits and downsides of an HBCU tend to be on a more personal level of expectation based on desired cultural experiences as well as possible relationships between school and work-related goals within the black community.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) List

Institution State Type Total Enrollment Black Enrollment Black Enrollment % Associates Awarded Bachelor’s Awarded Master’s Awarded Doctoral Awarded
North Carolina A&T State University NC 4-year public 10,725 8,893 83% NA 1,394 470 43
Saint Philip's College TX 2-year public 10,514 1,119 11% 511 NA NA NA
Howard University DC 4-year private nonprofit 10,265 8,812 86% NA 1,033 339 501
Florida A&M University FL 4-year public 10,241 8,956 87% 113 1,560 277 335
Jackson State University MS 4-year public 9,508 8,491 89% NA 1,093 424 71
Texas Southern University TX 4-year public 9,233 7,258 79% NA 867 388 329
Tennessee State University TN 4-year public 9,027 5,798 64% 104 807 476 85
Prairie View A&M University TX 4-year public 8,429 7,236 86% NA 993 447 22
Morgan State University MD 4-year public 7,698 6,320 82% NA 922 227 52
North Carolina Central University NC 4-year public 7,687 6,073 79% NA 1,054 427 141
Southern University and A&M College LA 4-year public 6,330 5,895 93% NA 757 272 13
Norfolk State University VA 4-year public 6,027 5,163 86% 95 857 184 9
Fayetteville State University NC 4-year public 5,899 3,992 68% NA 965 193 7
Bowie State University MD 4-year public 5,695 4,844 85% NA 741 278 7
Alabama State University AL 4-year public 5,519 5,024 91% NA 529 141 55
Alabama A&M University AL 4-year public 5,333 4,913 92% NA 472 223 7
Gadsden State Community College AL 2-year public 5,289 1,070 20% 571 NA NA NA
Winston-Salem State University NC 4-year public 5,220 3,741 72% NA 1,371 134 25
Virginia State University VA 4-year public 5,025 4,699 94% 3 793 151 8
Shelton State Community College AL 2-year public 4,978 1,807 36% 365 NA NA NA
Savannah State University GA 4-year public 4,915 4,336 88% 5 442 74 NA
University of the District of Columbia DC 4-year public 4,803 3,514 73% 263 410 86 NA
Grambling State University LA 4-year public 4,504 4,120 91% 13 697 251 4
Delaware State University DE 4-year public 4,397 2,974 68% NA 550 130 6
Hampton University VA 4-year private nonprofit 4,393 3,921 89% 0 710 139 99
University of Maryland, Eastern Shore MD 4-year public 4,279 2,891 68% NA 585 68 101
Bethune-Cookman University FL 4-year private nonprofit 4,044 3,662 91% NA 480 29 NA
Albany State University GA 4-year public 3,910 3,543 91% NA 492 108 NA
Alcorn State University MS 4-year public 3,639 3,386 93% 54 404 128 NA
Clark Atlanta University GA 4-year private nonprofit 3,485 3,306 95% NA 459 183 42
South Carolina State University SC 4-year public 3,331 3,154 95% NA 567 112 19
Bishop State Community College AL 2-year public 3,320 2,123 64% 286 NA NA NA
Coppin State University MD 4-year public 3,133 2,626 84% NA 477 83 0
Lincoln University MO 4-year public 3,117 1,298 42% 80 328 52 NA
Tuskegee University AL 4-year private nonprofit 3,103 2,953 95% NA 327 50 49
Lawson State Community College, Birmingham Campus AL 2-year public 3,090 2,489 81% 226 NA NA NA
Xavier University of Louisiana LA 4-year private nonprofit 2,976 2,116 71% NA 322 58 159
Southern University at Shreveport LA 2-year public 2,952 2,617 89% 273 NA NA NA
West Virginia State University WV 4-year public 2,884 461 16% NA 418 17 NA
Fort Valley State University GA 4-year public 2,594 2,375 92% NA 431 86 NA
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff AR 4-year public 2,513 2,301 92% 0 429 26 0
Langston University OK 4-year public 2,482 2,049 83% 12 294 110 22
Benedict College SC 4-year private nonprofit 2,444 2,420 99% NA 309 NA NA
University of the Virgin Islands VI 4-year public 2,280 1,770 78% 58 214 50 NA
Mississippi Valley State University MS 4-year public 2,222 2,111 95% NA 386 70 NA
Spelman College GA 4-year private nonprofit 2,135 2,026 95% NA 464 NA NA
Morehouse College GA 4-year private nonprofit 2,109 2,022 96% NA 339 NA NA
Southern University at New Orleans LA 4-year public 2,103 2,021 96% 14 303 183 NA
Coahoma Community College MS 2-year public 2,045 1,955 96% 259 NA NA NA
Oakwood University AL 4-year private nonprofit 1,939 1,690 87% 1 321 14 NA
Kentucky State University KY 4-year public 1,895 1,137 60% 49 272 49 NA
Elizabeth City State University NC 4-year public 1,867 1,494 80% NA 488 55 NA
Claflin University SC 4-year private nonprofit 1,866 1,693 91% NA 371 25 NA
Lincoln University PA 4-year public 1,819 1,649 91% NA 279 160 NA
Shaw University NC 4-year private nonprofit 1,802 1,716 95% 1 286 18 NA
Miles College AL 4-year private nonprofit 1,782 1,736 97% NA 198 NA NA
Central State University OH 4-year public 1,751 1,686 96% NA 293 6 NA
Virginia Union University VA 4-year private nonprofit 1,715 1,669 97% NA 229 119 9
Denmark Technical College SC 2-year public 1,678 1,615 96% 82 NA NA NA
Bluefield State College WV 4-year public 1,563 156 10% 117 240 NA NA
Florida Memorial University FL 4-year private nonprofit 1,528 1,233 81% NA 207 19 NA
Johnson C. Smith University NC 4-year private nonprofit 1,402 1,212 86% NA 248 NA NA
Wiley College TX 4-year private nonprofit 1,351 1,146 85% 5 176 NA NA
H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College AL 2-year public 1,338 786 59% 200 NA NA NA
Livingstone College NC 4-year private nonprofit 1,301 1,274 98% 0 154 NA NA
Harris-Stowe State University MO 4-year public 1,280 1,111 87% NA 132 NA NA
Lane College TN 4-year private nonprofit 1,262 1,262 100% NA 239 NA NA
Dillard University LA 4-year private nonprofit 1,200 1,155 96% NA 186 NA NA
J. F. Drake State Community and Technical College AL 2-year public 1,062 608 57% 98 NA NA NA
Stillman College AL 4-year private nonprofit 1,056 955 90% NA 114 NA NA
Huston-Tillotson University TX 4-year private nonprofit 1,031 731 71% NA 125 NA NA
Cheyney University of Pennsylvania PA 4-year public 1,022 924 90% NA 150 10 NA
Saint Augustine's College NC 4-year private nonprofit 1,016 973 96% NA 226 NA NA
Le Moyne-Owen College TN 4-year private nonprofit 1,006 987 98% NA 127 NA NA
Rust College MS 4-year private nonprofit 963 924 96% 5 103 NA NA
Edward Waters College FL 4-year private nonprofit 929 838 90% NA 106 NA NA
Tougaloo College MS 4-year private nonprofit 900 887 99% 5 153 NA NA
Arkansas Baptist College AR 4-year private nonprofit 899 847 94% 82 45 NA NA
Talladega College AL 4-year private nonprofit 879 758 86% NA 81 NA NA
Paine College GA 4-year private nonprofit 848 787 93% NA 108 NA NA
Texas College TX 4-year private nonprofit 813 696 86% 21 80 NA NA
Meharry Medical College TN 4-year private nonprofit 802 645 80% NA NA 69 150
Morris College SC 4-year private nonprofit 780 762 98% NA 152 NA NA
Fisk University TN 4-year private nonprofit 772 722 94% NA 80 6 NA
Jarvis Christian College TX 4-year private nonprofit 763 623 82% NA 65 NA NA
Hinds Community College, Utica Campus MS 2-year public 711 674 95% 75 NA NA NA
Allen University SC 4-year private nonprofit 660 652 99% NA 81 NA NA
Bennett College NC 4-year private nonprofit 633 595 94% NA 105 NA NA
Philander Smith College AR 4-year private nonprofit 567 512 90% NA 108 NA NA
Selma University AL 4-year private nonprofit 558 551 99% 0 23 10 NA
Concordia College, Alabama AL 4-year private nonprofit 546 503 92% 29 34 NA NA
Voorhees College SC 4-year private nonprofit 468 461 99% NA 117 NA NA
Shorter College AR 2-year private nonprofit 403 395 98% 11 NA NA NA
Morehouse School of Medicine GA 4-year private nonprofit 398 287 72% NA NA 26 44
Wilberforce University OH 4-year private nonprofit 387 373 96% NA 103 5 NA
Virginia University of Lynchburg VA 4-year private nonprofit 324 319 98% 82 24 11 4
Interdenominational Theological Center GA 4-year private nonprofit 306 295 96% NA NA 99 5
Paul Quinn College TX 4-year private nonprofit 273 227 83% NA 21 NA NA
Clinton College SC 4-year private nonprofit 194 185 95% 26 5 NA NA
Southwestern Christian College TX 4-year private nonprofit 164 128 78% 30 0 NA NA

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