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

InstitutionStateTypeTotal EnrollmentBlack EnrollmentBlack Enrollment %Associates AwardedBachelor’s AwardedMaster’s AwardedDoctoral Awarded
North Carolina A&T State UniversityNC4-year public10,7258,89383%NA1,39447043
Saint Philip's CollegeTX2-year public10,5141,11911%511NANANA
Howard UniversityDC4-year private nonprofit10,2658,81286%NA1,033339501
Florida A&M UniversityFL4-year public10,2418,95687%1131,560277335
Jackson State UniversityMS4-year public9,5088,49189%NA1,09342471
Texas Southern UniversityTX4-year public9,2337,25879%NA867388329
Tennessee State UniversityTN4-year public9,0275,79864%10480747685
Prairie View A&M UniversityTX4-year public8,4297,23686%NA99344722
Morgan State UniversityMD4-year public7,6986,32082%NA92222752
North Carolina Central UniversityNC4-year public7,6876,07379%NA1,054427141
Southern University and A&M CollegeLA4-year public6,3305,89593%NA75727213
Norfolk State UniversityVA4-year public6,0275,16386%958571849
Fayetteville State UniversityNC4-year public5,8993,99268%NA9651937
Bowie State UniversityMD4-year public5,6954,84485%NA7412787
Alabama State UniversityAL4-year public5,5195,02491%NA52914155
Alabama A&M UniversityAL4-year public5,3334,91392%NA4722237
Gadsden State Community CollegeAL2-year public5,2891,07020%571NANANA
Winston-Salem State UniversityNC4-year public5,2203,74172%NA1,37113425
Virginia State UniversityVA4-year public5,0254,69994%37931518
Shelton State Community CollegeAL2-year public4,9781,80736%365NANANA
Savannah State UniversityGA4-year public4,9154,33688%544274NA
University of the District of ColumbiaDC4-year public4,8033,51473%26341086NA
Grambling State UniversityLA4-year public4,5044,12091%136972514
Delaware State UniversityDE4-year public4,3972,97468%NA5501306
Hampton UniversityVA4-year private nonprofit4,3933,92189%071013999
University of Maryland, Eastern ShoreMD4-year public4,2792,89168%NA58568101
Bethune-Cookman UniversityFL4-year private nonprofit4,0443,66291%NA48029NA
Albany State UniversityGA4-year public3,9103,54391%NA492108NA
Alcorn State UniversityMS4-year public3,6393,38693%54404128NA
Clark Atlanta UniversityGA4-year private nonprofit3,4853,30695%NA45918342
South Carolina State UniversitySC4-year public3,3313,15495%NA56711219
Bishop State Community CollegeAL2-year public3,3202,12364%286NANANA
Coppin State UniversityMD4-year public3,1332,62684%NA477830
Lincoln UniversityMO4-year public3,1171,29842%8032852NA
Tuskegee UniversityAL4-year private nonprofit3,1032,95395%NA3275049
Lawson State Community College, Birmingham CampusAL2-year public3,0902,48981%226NANANA
Xavier University of LouisianaLA4-year private nonprofit2,9762,11671%NA32258159
Southern University at ShreveportLA2-year public2,9522,61789%273NANANA
West Virginia State UniversityWV4-year public2,88446116%NA41817NA
Fort Valley State UniversityGA4-year public2,5942,37592%NA43186NA
University of Arkansas at Pine BluffAR4-year public2,5132,30192%0429260
Langston UniversityOK4-year public2,4822,04983%1229411022
Benedict CollegeSC4-year private nonprofit2,4442,42099%NA309NANA
University of the Virgin IslandsVI4-year public2,2801,77078%5821450NA
Mississippi Valley State UniversityMS4-year public2,2222,11195%NA38670NA
Spelman CollegeGA4-year private nonprofit2,1352,02695%NA464NANA
Morehouse CollegeGA4-year private nonprofit2,1092,02296%NA339NANA
Southern University at New OrleansLA4-year public2,1032,02196%14303183NA
Coahoma Community CollegeMS2-year public2,0451,95596%259NANANA
Oakwood UniversityAL4-year private nonprofit1,9391,69087%132114NA
Kentucky State UniversityKY4-year public1,8951,13760%4927249NA
Elizabeth City State UniversityNC4-year public1,8671,49480%NA48855NA
Claflin UniversitySC4-year private nonprofit1,8661,69391%NA37125NA
Lincoln UniversityPA4-year public1,8191,64991%NA279160NA
Shaw UniversityNC4-year private nonprofit1,8021,71695%128618NA
Miles CollegeAL4-year private nonprofit1,7821,73697%NA198NANA
Central State UniversityOH4-year public1,7511,68696%NA2936NA
Virginia Union UniversityVA4-year private nonprofit1,7151,66997%NA2291199
Denmark Technical CollegeSC2-year public1,6781,61596%82NANANA
Bluefield State CollegeWV4-year public1,56315610%117240NANA
Florida Memorial UniversityFL4-year private nonprofit1,5281,23381%NA20719NA
Johnson C. Smith UniversityNC4-year private nonprofit1,4021,21286%NA248NANA
Wiley CollegeTX4-year private nonprofit1,3511,14685%5176NANA
H. Councill Trenholm State Technical CollegeAL2-year public1,33878659%200NANANA
Livingstone CollegeNC4-year private nonprofit1,3011,27498%0154NANA
Harris-Stowe State UniversityMO4-year public1,2801,11187%NA132NANA
Lane CollegeTN4-year private nonprofit1,2621,262100%NA239NANA
Dillard UniversityLA4-year private nonprofit1,2001,15596%NA186NANA
J. F. Drake State Community and Technical CollegeAL2-year public1,06260857%98NANANA
Stillman CollegeAL4-year private nonprofit1,05695590%NA114NANA
Huston-Tillotson UniversityTX4-year private nonprofit1,03173171%NA125NANA
Cheyney University of PennsylvaniaPA4-year public1,02292490%NA15010NA
Saint Augustine's CollegeNC4-year private nonprofit1,01697396%NA226NANA
Le Moyne-Owen CollegeTN4-year private nonprofit1,00698798%NA127NANA
Rust CollegeMS4-year private nonprofit96392496%5103NANA
Edward Waters CollegeFL4-year private nonprofit92983890%NA106NANA
Tougaloo CollegeMS4-year private nonprofit90088799%5153NANA
Arkansas Baptist CollegeAR4-year private nonprofit89984794%8245NANA
Talladega CollegeAL4-year private nonprofit87975886%NA81NANA
Paine CollegeGA4-year private nonprofit84878793%NA108NANA
Texas CollegeTX4-year private nonprofit81369686%2180NANA
Meharry Medical CollegeTN4-year private nonprofit80264580%NANA69150
Morris CollegeSC4-year private nonprofit78076298%NA152NANA
Fisk UniversityTN4-year private nonprofit77272294%NA806NA
Jarvis Christian CollegeTX4-year private nonprofit76362382%NA65NANA
Hinds Community College, Utica CampusMS2-year public71167495%75NANANA
Allen UniversitySC4-year private nonprofit66065299%NA81NANA
Bennett CollegeNC4-year private nonprofit63359594%NA105NANA
Philander Smith CollegeAR4-year private nonprofit56751290%NA108NANA
Selma UniversityAL4-year private nonprofit55855199%02310NA
Concordia College, AlabamaAL4-year private nonprofit54650392%2934NANA
Voorhees CollegeSC4-year private nonprofit46846199%NA117NANA
Shorter CollegeAR2-year private nonprofit40339598%11NANANA
Morehouse School of MedicineGA4-year private nonprofit39828772%NANA2644
Wilberforce UniversityOH4-year private nonprofit38737396%NA1035NA
Virginia University of LynchburgVA4-year private nonprofit32431998%8224114
Interdenominational Theological CenterGA4-year private nonprofit30629596%NANA995
Paul Quinn CollegeTX4-year private nonprofit27322783%NA21NANA
Clinton CollegeSC4-year private nonprofit19418595%265NANA
Southwestern Christian CollegeTX4-year private nonprofit16412878%300NANA


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