Updated: May 31, 2017
If you have kept up with the news lately, then you know that historical black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been a hot topic. Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, initiated a fiery dialogue when she “called historically black colleges and universities ‘real pioneers’ of school choice.”1 After receiving critical feedback on the genesis of HBCUs, DeVos attempted to recant her statements.
Controversy ensued when many HBCU presidents met with President Trump in the Oval Office in the White House. While some HBCU presidents were optimistic about meeting with Trump about the state of HBCUs, others remained hopefully skeptical. Amidst criticism, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell said that she would meet members of Congress and the Trump administration to “communicate to the White House, members of Congress, cabinet members, and agency staff about the spectacular outcomes of the HBCU community…as well as advocate for the continuation of federal funds and federal policies that support Spelman students, faculty, staff and programming.”2
Dr. John Wilson Jr., president of Morehouse College, was one of many HBCU presidents who was disappointed with President Trump’s executive order on HBCUs—expecting to receive an additional $500 million to HBCUs.3
Many HBCU schools are celebrating over 100 years of existence. Attention to community, spirituality, African-American studies, tradition, and social justice drive and distinguish HBCUs. Although HBCUs like Southwestern Christian College (SWCC) have faced many difficulties, SWCC’s new President, Seamster Jr. has been faithful to the HBCU legacy. Seamster doubled the school’s size in a short amount of time.4
Heroes like Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Martin Luther King Jr., attended historically black colleges and universities. The majority of HBCUs began because African Americans were denied access to predominately white institutions (PWI).
What Are the Best Historically Black Colleges & Universities for 2017?
NPR reports, “Roughly half of the nation’s 105 HBCUs have a freshman class with three-quarters of the students are from low-income backgrounds.”5 Not only do HBCUs continue to provide opportunities that other universities do not, but they are the center of culture, #blackjoy, legacy, and tradition for African American students. Although school spirit and tradition are difficult to measure, College Choice has compiled some of the best HBCUs in the nation.
College Choice Score: 100
Average Net Price: $22,337
Howard University is College Choice’s top-ranked HBCU and is in Washington D.C. In his “Between The World and Me,” Ta-Nehisi Coates describes Howard as “The Mecca—the crossroads of the black diaspora.” Toni Morrison, Amiri Baraka, Thurgood Marshall, Zora Neale Hurston, Andrew Young, and Stokely Carmichael represent a pinch of the school’s distinguished alumni. The university has even attracted stars like Empire’s Taraji P. Henson, and others like Sean (P. Diddy) Combs, Nick Cannon, and Wendy Robinson.
Howard is a private, research university with 13 schools and colleges and more than 120 degree concentrations. The university is nationally and internationally recognized for its STEM fields, College of Medicine, and areas of social work, business, and cinematographers. The National Jurist Magazine ranks Howard’s Law school as one of the top public service schools.
Rather it’s medicine, engineering, religion, law, or education, Howard produces some of the best professionals in the nation. Ernie Talbert, a senior global manager at Under Armour Headquarters, says that he chose Howard’s business school because it attracted Fortune 500 consulting companies and the school had a commitment to social action. Alumna Kiah Clingman says, “Howard is a place where you can grow, learn, and develop relationships that will last a lifetime.”
College Choice Score: 94.39
Average Net Price: $30,522
Established as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in 1881, the school became Spelman College in 1924. Spelman is a historically black institution of higher learning that focuses on educating women of African descent. The Chronicle of Higher Education names Spelman among the top bachelor’s institutions to produce Fulbright Scholars.
At Spelman, you receive some of the best academic training in the world. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the college. Essence, U.S. News & World Report, and BestColleges.com rank Spelman as a top school. Peace Corps has even named the college as a top volunteer-producing HBCU.
Spelman College offers 28 majors. Students have access to other colleges and universities through the Atlanta University Center. Gordon-Zeto Center for Global Education, LEADS, Teaching Resource and Research Center, WISDOM Center, and Women’s Research and Resource Center make up Spelman’s interdisciplinary Centers of Excellence. These organizations support black women students in areas of global leadership, ministry, civic engagement, education, and Women’s Studies.
College Choice Score: 93.47
Average Net Price: $22,529
Although the school was established after Howard University (1868), Hampton University alumni and students claim to be the real HU. However, Hampton’s proto-institutional legacy as an HBCU harkens back to 1861. If you visit “HU,” you will see the Emancipation Oak—the site where Mary Peake, a black woman, taught her first class in 1861. With the trailblazing of talented black women like Peake, Hampton produced one of its finest and most famous student—Booker T. Washington.
In 2016, Hampton conferred 903 degrees including 134 Doctoral degrees (research and professional practice). Approximately 4,600 students make up the university’s enrollment. 91% of the student population is black, and the school is 67.5% women to 32.5% men. At Hampton, students stay active in more than 110 organizations.
Dr. William R. Harvey is the president of Hampton University and has served the school for over four decades (Harvey is also the owner of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan). His new book, “Principles of Leadership,” describes his early interactions with Civil Rights Leaders and explains Hampton’s success throughout the years. Whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student, you will have a vibrant, secure, and imaginative experience at Hampton University.
College Choice Score: 92.48
Average Net Price: $18,255
Huston-Tillotson University is in Austin, TX and is a merger of Samuel Huston College and Tillotson College. The university is affiliated with The United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits the school’s associate, baccalaureate, and master’s degrees.
Among 10 of the institution’s special programs stands the W.E.B. DuBois Honors Program. Huston-Tillotson DuBois Scholars participate in specialized honors courses, annual retreats, and educational seminars. Students in the program also build global relationships which increase their internship opportunities.
If you are interested in innovation, business, and technology, then you should check out Huston-Tillotson. As of late, the University has been building quite a reputation in technology and sustainability. Students from the school were rigorously selected to take part in the [email protected] initiative in Austin, TX. The initiative only selected 100 students from HBCUs. Others may remember “Professor Dumpster” (Jeff Wilson) who lived in a dumpster for two years while at Hutson-Tillotson, which lead him to launch Kasita, a tiny housing startup.
Xavier University of Louisiana
College Choice Score: 89.54
Average Net Price: $14,126
Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament established Xavier University of Louisiana in 1951. The New Orleans school is one of a kind in that it is an HBCU and Catholic college. The University’s mission “is to contribute to the promotion of a more just and humane society by preparing its students to assume roles of leadership and service in a global society.”
Although many students accumulate substantial college debt, Xavier offers a low tuition. Not only does the university offer a low tuition, but the Equality of Opportunity Project ranked Xavier University as the sixth best college in the nation for upward mobility. Xavier is not just a leading HBCU institution, but it is one of the best universities in the U.S.
If you have strong interests in science, medical, and health fields, Xavier may be an ideal school for you. The school is ranked as #1 in the nation for the number of African American graduates who go on to complete medical school. It is also #1 for awarding bachelor’s degrees to African-American students in the biological and biomedical sciences, the physical sciences, and physics.
Bowie State University
College Choice Score: 87.99
Average Net Price: $11,663
Bowie State University was established in 1865 and is the first HBCU in the state of Maryland. Located in Bowie, Maryland, the school is conveniently between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Bowie stays true to its historical legacy by providing higher education for underrepresented students and staying committed to the educational advancement of African Americans.
The University offers a wide variety of degree options for students within its four colleges. Bowie has 22 undergraduate program and 38 graduate programs (doctoral programs). Furthermore, Bowie’s online and hybrid classes give flexibility for students who are not able to attend as full-time, in-person students. Bowie is a leader in its focus on sustainability, business, volunteerism, and as a resource for LGBT students.
Jovan Adepo, the son of Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in the movie, “Fences,” describes his time as a student at Bowie. Adepo, a History and Government major, says that one of his greatest experiences at the school was his relationships built with other students and professors. With more than 90 student organizations and 12 fraternities and sororities, Bowie offers a vibrant communal and campus life for its students.
Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
College Choice Score: 87.43
Average Net Price: $14,694
The world-renowned poet, Langston Hughes, and the first African-American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall, were students at Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. Originally known as The Ashmun Institute, the school changed its name to Lincoln University in 1866 in honor of President Abraham Lincoln. Its early ties to the Presbyterian Church, its founders and professors’ education contributed to Lincoln’s reputation as “the black Princeton.” Lincoln is the first degree-granting HBCU institution in the U.S.
Business, Communication, Journalism, Social Sciences, Health Professions, and Criminal Justice are some of the most popular majors at Lincoln University. The school has 100 full-time faculty members and a diverse array of students from 31 U.S. states and 28 countries throughout the world. The 16 to 1 student to faculty ratio creates a warm learning environment where professors know you by name.
Lincoln alumni make significant impacts in churches and universities. They also lead careers as judges, mayors, city managers, writers, directors, and film executives. The school values its students, excellence, care and service, understanding and respect, tradition, and ethics.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
College Choice Score: 87.14
Average Net Price: $12,075
Founded as the State Normal College for Colored Students in 1887, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M) is the only historically black university in the State University system of Florida. Currently, Dr. Elmira Mangum is the first permanent (black) female president of the institution.
Although the university is an HBCU, it is very diverse. The school enrolls 11,000 students from the U.S. and many students from 70 countries. By admitting students from China, Jamaica, Brazil, Egypt, and other places, the school upholds its vision of diversity, openness, and shared governance. Also, by partnering with the Office of International Education and Development, FAMU enables students to gain global educational experiences through education abroad and international research.
Students who are particularly interested in the field of Journalism should check out Florida A&M. Besides being one of the school’s top programs, FAMU’s journalism school recently initiated a 24-hour news network geared for an African-American audience. The network will serve black communities and especially Florida A&M students well.
Edward Waters College
College Choice Score: 85.85
Average Net Price: $11,612
For many African American religious traditions, the Biblical story of “the three Hebrew Boys (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego)” escaping the fiery furnace is essential. Edward Waters College (EWC), the oldest independent educational institution for African Americans is a thriving HBCU that preserved when fire destroyed its campus in 1901. The name of the school changed to Edward Waters College “in honor of the third Bishop of the AME Church.”
Edward Waters College offers the B.A. in Communications, Music, Psychology and Criminal Justice. Students also pursue the Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, Elementary Education, and Mathematics. For those desiring to enter the business sector, the school offers a Bachelor in Business Administration.
EWC has many student activities beyond the classroom such as recreation and sports activities, Greek life, and service volunteer activities. The school’s religious life is also central to its academic community. Edward Waters College promotes spiritual growth, personal empowerment, and spiritual values and moral consciousness.
Southern University at New Orleans
College Choice Score: 85.53
Average Net Price: $7,531
Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) is the only public university that is an HBCU in New Orleans. The Southern Association of Colleges & Schools accredits the 1956-established school. SUNO offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Arts and Humanities, Computer Information Systems, Social Sciences, Business Administration Natural Sciences, Social Work, Child Development and Family Studies, Public Administration, and Teacher Education.
SUNO’s centers, programs, and institutes serve as resources for its students as well as the community. The university’s Early Start Program allows high school students to college courses for credit while they are obtaining their high school diploma. The Honoré Center for Undergraduate Student Achievement supports African American males graduating from college while increasing the number of black male teachers in urban settings. The school’s Small Business Development and Management Institute helps the community by providing entrepreneurs with services and resources.
Lisa Mimis-Devezin, the interim chancellor, says, “Our graduate and undergraduate students are succeeding every day where they are building new businesses and serving communities not only in New Orleans but around the nation.” In light of the SUNO’s devastating encounter with Hurricane Katrina and Rita, the school continues to grow and produce community and world leaders.
Prairie View A & M University
College Choice Score: 85.08
Average Net Price: $8,628
Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU) is “the first state-supported College in Texas for African Americans,” and the second-oldest public institution of higher education in Texas. Prairie View is the producer of thousands of African American educators, engineers, and nurses. The College of Agriculture and Human Sciences, Architecture, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, and Nursing encompass the university’s schools.
PVAMU takes leadership and mentorship seriously. As a student, you will have the benefit of professors and faculty members investing in your career. Leadership, relevance, and social responsibility are components of PV’s core values. Ashley Williams, a successful nurse, and alumna says, “So many of the professors and mentors I encountered during my time at PV truly cared. They didn’t just look at me as a number…they saw each student’s potential and really sought to invest in them.”
PV says, “The very soul and spirit of every historically black university is conveyed through its marching band.” If the above state is true, then PVAMU’s Marching Storm Band brings the spirit to the school. The Marching Storm is one of the most popular bands in the nation with performances on CBS and MTV. The band also performed in Super Bowl 45 with the Black Eyed Peas and Usher.
North Carolina A & T State University
College Choice Score: 84.66
Average Net Price: $10,145
North Carolina A&T State University is in Greensboro, NC, and was established in 1891. The school has a strong civil rights legacy with alumni like Rev. Jesse Jackson, and also David Richmond, Franklin McCain, Jibreel Khazan and Joseph McNeil—members of the Greensboro Four. The school says, “The Greensboro Four…staged the first ever sit-in at Woolworth lunch counter in 1960—were NC A&T students.”
Why should you consider being an Aggie? North Carolina A&T is the largest public HBCU in the United States. More African American students earn engineering degrees at NC A&T than any other school in the country. The school is distinguished in the Arts with the first accredited HBCU theater program in North Carolina.
When you enroll at North Carolina A&T, you become part of a unique tradition of excellence. Besides producing the largest number of African-American undergraduate engineers, the university also generates the most African American psychology majors and certified public accountants. With such a tradition steeped in civil rights and academic excellence, you cannot go wrong with NC A&T.
North Carolina Central University
College Choice Score: 84.56
Average Net Price: $9,701
James Edward Shepard founded North Carolina Central University (NCCU) as the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua in 1909. NCCU is the first African-American public arts school in the United States. It is within the university’s mission to “prepare students to become global leaders and practitioners who transform communities.”
U.S. News & World Report, HBCU Digest, and College Values Online rank NCCU as a top university. The school’s Online Program, Social Work degree, School of Library and Information Sciences, Online Nursing Program and School of Law are among the best programs in the nation. HBCU Digest named the school as the 2016 HBCU of the year.
NCCU has five schools and colleges and offers approximately 100 areas of study. The institution offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees. North Carolina Central also provides various options for taking classes through video conferencing, online platforms, and off-campus locations.
West Virginia State University
College Choice Score: 84.18
Average Net Price: $8,870
West Virginia State University (WVSU) was founded in 1891 following the second Morrill Land-Grant Act. The school is in Institute, WV, just a few miles from the state capitol, Charleston. The HBCU has about 3,500 students and a 17 to 1 student to faculty ratio.
When it comes to sports, WVSU has a unique place in the nation’s history.
You may know the renowned Jackie Robison, the first African American to play Major League Baseball, but do you know West Virginia State University’s Wendell Smith? The National Baseball Hall of Fame says that Smith played a key role as a sportswriter in the Jackie Robinsons story (and in American life) as the first African-American sportswriter to work for a white newspaper. Earl Lloyd was another alumnus of the school who was the first African-American to play in the NBA.
West Virginia State University has four colleges including Arts and Humanities, Business and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Professional Studies. Keen on research within and beyond the institution’s walls, the school works with the IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence and the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research. West Virginia State also has several programs and initiatives to help junior high and high school students.
Fayetteville State University
College Choice Score: 83.75
Average Net Price: $6,848
If you want to join an HBCU distinguished by its academic reputation and its history within the Civil Rights Movement, then you should check out Fayetteville State University (FSU). The school began as the Howard School in 1867—purposed to educate black students in Fayetteville. Fayetteville was also a prominent HBCU during the sit-ins in the 1960s. Just a few days following the first sit-in at N.C. A&T University, Fayetteville State Teachers College staged a sit-in.
Not only does Fayetteville State University have a rich history, but it continues to make history with its outstanding academic programs. FSU’s programs in Nursing, Online MBA in Health Care Management, and Theater stand as a top-ranked state and national programs. HBCU-Colleges ranks FSU’s theater program as number eight among HBCUs. U.S. News & World Report ranks its online MBA among the top five in North Carolina and top 100 in the nation.
Students at FSU learn with premier professors and faculty members. Assistant Professor Nicole McFarlane was recently selected as one of 18 Fellows for the University of Pennsylvania’s ELEVATE Fellowship. Google chose Fayetteville’s Associate Professor of Computer Science, Sambit Bhattacharya to participate in its first faculty sabbatical program. At FSU you will learn with some of the top instructors in the nation
College Choice Score: 83.45
Average Net Price: $10,625
Tougaloo College is a private, four-year historically black college, north of Jackson, Mississippi. The American Missionary Association established Tougaloo College in 1869. In solidarity with the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, the college opened its doors to the Freedom Riders, to end segregation. With its history of resilience, the college is a place “where history meets the future.”
Within the school’s five divisions, it offers 29 majors. Keen on research, Tougaloo has programs like the Katrina effect, the Research Infrastructure in Minority Institutions (RIMI) program and Computational Biophysics and Bioengineering Section. Tougaloo College has partnerships and networking relationships with Brown University, Boston College, Tufts Medical and Dental Schools, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, New York University and others. With Brown University, Brown and Tougaloo have an archival project (Freedom Now!) which preserves the history of the Mississippi Freedom Movement.
There are many reasons to choose Tougaloo College. Cassius Rudolph, a Master of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary and alumnus of Tougaloo College says, “Tougaloo College was a place where the school cared about the whole being of students—especially their spirituality.” Rudolph says, “The Woodworth Chapel on our campus stands at the heart of our very being.” Along with other Alumni, Cassius believes that God smiles on Tougaloo College.
Le Moyne-Owen College
College Choice Score: 83.09
Average Net Price: $12,914
LeMoyne-Owen College (LOC) is a private, historically black college in Memphis, Tennessee. The school affiliated with the United Church of Christ and was established in 1968. LeMoyne strives to “be an exemplary historically black college providing an excellent liberal arts education that transforms urban students, institutions, and communities.”
The college strongly supports African American studies in many ways. Its Center for African and African American Studies (CAAAS) “offers the campus, the community, and the academic world opportunities for increased knowledge about the rich heritage of Africans and African Americans.” CAAAS promotes many events and also collects books and artifacts. Also, CAAAS supports the African and African American Women’s Social Activism Section.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges accredits LOC. LeMoyne-Owen has five academic divisions and 23 areas of study in Business and Economic Development, Education, Fine Arts and Humanities, Natural and Mathematical Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
College Choice Score: 82.72
Average Net Price: $14,872
Dillard University is a four-year, liberal arts HBCU with historical roots dating back to 1869. The University affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church Dillard’s legacy began as a merger between New Orleans University and Straight College. Today, the university has the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Professional Studies.
Recently, the Lumina Foundation awarded Dillard $666,600 to support student initiatives geared to aid first-generation college students and others. The university has around 1,300 students with a 73:27 female to male ratio. Also, the student population is 90% African American.
If you want to attend an HBCU that embodies the lively culture and spirit of New Orleans, then Dillard is a worthy candidate. The Gospel Choir at Dillard is a highlight of the University. The choir has ben featured at the New Orleans JazzFest and is an integral part of the campus ministries. Students build lifelong relationships during their experience at Dillard University.
Concordia College Alabama
College Choice Score: 82.48
Average Net Price: $12,571
You may be familiar with the Rosa of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, but Alumni and students of Concordia College Alabama (CCA) also lift up the story of the Rosa of Selma. Dr. Rosa Young, known as “the mother of Black Lutheranism in Central Alabama” and “the first Rosa” was instrumental in teaching many black students and essential to the founding of Concordia College Alabama. In its Genesis, Young even corresponded with Booker T. Washington to get the school of the ground.
CCA has seven notable features that characterize the school. Its core values are being Christ-centered, King-focused global ministry, academic excellence, personal responsibility and growth, community transformation, integrity in the stewardship of resources, and community service. The college offers courses in General Education, Business, Teacher Education, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Health Sciences.
Concordia College’s student groups and societies include Alpha Kappa Mu National Honor Society, the Student Alabama Education Association, Student Government Association Millionaires Business Club, and the Drama Club. With so many activities to support students in a myriad of ways, there is never a dull moment. The student organizations build community at and beyond CCA.
Johnson C Smith University
College Choice Score: 82.24
Average Net Price: $19,032
With over 150 years of success, Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) still stands as a top historically black university. About 1,500 students attend JCSU which creates an intimate learning environment. The University’s Biddle Memorial Hall sits on the highest point in Charlotte. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Council on Social Work Education accredits the school’s degree programs.
In 2015, the Gates Foundation for the New Urban University Coalition selected JCSU. U.S. News &World Report and The Best Colleges Online rank Johnson C. Smith University among the best HBCU schools, technologically advanced small colleges, and HBCUs with the most generous alumni.
The university is committed to developing socially conscious, innovative citizens and leaders. JCSU has talented professors and students. Professor of Political Science, Dr. Terza Silva Lima-Neves says that JCSU gives her the “academic freedom to engage in research” important to her while also introduce her students to a plethora of worldviews.
College Choice Score: 81.8
Average Net Price: $19,803
Can you imagine being accepted into college exclusively by your character? At its inception in 1869, if you wanted to be a student at Claflin University, all you had to do was show good character and a “conscientious desire to learn.” During a time of racial oppression, the school named after Lee Claflin, opened its doors to all people, “regardless of race, complexion, or religious opinion.”
Claflin’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident in its student demographics today. The school has students from 24 states and 18 countries. Student’s at Claflin University take pride in knowing that they attend the first institution of higher education to enroll African Americans in South Carolina. Leadership, intellect, creativity, service, and activism are values that Claflin instills in its academic community.
The Chronicle, Forbes, the Washington Monthly, and HBCU Digest praise Claflin University for being a distinguished University. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll awarded the school for the sixth consecutive year. Claflin recently won a $6 million grant from the Lilly Endowment and the United Negro College Fund.
Delaware State University
College Choice Score: 81.29
Average Net Price: $12,603
Delaware State University (DSU) is a public, historically black university, established in 1891. Located in Dover, Delaware, the school continues to stand as a top HBCU for over 125 years. DSU has campuses at Georgetown and Wilmington and even an online option.
Business Administration, Psychology, Mass Communications, Sports Management, and Nursing are some of DSU’s most popular majors. Delaware State University has 42 undergraduate programs, 16 master’s programs, and five doctoral programs. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accredits DSU.
Since the school’s beginning, Delaware State University has accomplished significant milestones. Beyond its campuses at Dover, Georgetown, and Wilmington, the school has established institutional partnerships in Africa, China, Ghana, South Korea, Vietnam and other places. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently granted the school $1.2 million for the advancement of academics, innovation, and student success.
College Choice Score: 80.84
Average Net Price: $31,707
Howard Thurman, Benjamin Mays, Martin Luther King, Jr., David Satcher, Maynard Jackson, Donn Clendenon, Spike Lee, are a few “Morehouse Men” who have helped change the world. Established in 1867, Morehouse College is one of the best colleges in the nation, top HBCU, and one of the best schools for black men. The school’s mission is “to produce academically superior, morally conscious leaders for the conditions and issues of today.”
Morehouse is top men’s college for producing Rhodes Scholars, and one of the top HBCUs to produce Rhodes Scholars. Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Newsweek, and others rank the school as a distinguished institution of higher learning. Along with is rich history and academic rigor, Morehouse has international recognition for its Glee Club, Debate Team and Marching Band. Furthermore, the school houses the King Collection which holds thousands of written documents by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
There is something unique about the Morehouse experience that outside spectators will never comprehend. Jason Riffe, an alumnus of Morehouse (’07), says, “What I cherish most from my days at Morehouse College are the connections I made with other students. It is the only place on earth where you can learn and grow with thousands of the best and brightest black men alive.” If you want to be part of the Morehouse legacy, there is only one place you can go.
Bluefield State College
College Choice Score: 80.62
Average Net Price: $8,748
Bluefield State College began in 1895, providing higher education for the children of African-American coal miners. The school has a rich history when it comes to black culture. “Heavyweight champion Joe Louis held boxing exhibitions in the gymnasium. Langston Hughes read poetry on campus. Count Basie and Duke Ellington played at fraternity parties.”
Students at Bluefield specialize in Arts and Science, Business, Engineering Technology and Computer Science, Education, or Nursing and Allied Health. Approximately 60% of students earn STEM degrees. The school offers associate and bachelor degrees.
Bluefield State College has some of the best professors in the state. The Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia selected Dr. Jeffrey Bolton of Bluefield State College School of Engineering Technology and Computer Science Professor, as the professor of the year (2016). Students at the college have the privilege of working closely with professors like Dr. Bolton.
Mississippi Valley State University
College Choice Score: 80.19
Average Net Price: $7,003
Mississippi Valley State University (MSVU) was founded in 1950 as the Mississippi Vocational College by the Mississippi Legislature. The school was created to serve the educational needs of people living in rural areas. MSVU continues to improve the quality of life of its students by giving them unique learning opportunities.
Dr. William b. Bynum, Jr., is the president of Mississippi Valley State University and focuses on institutional unity and progress. Mississippi Valley prides itself on being the valley of knowledge, growth, diversity, and scholars. It has been named one the best colleges in the southern region of America. Organizations and institutions recognize MSVU’s students and professors as some of the best in the U.S. The state capitol honored political science professor Larry Chappell and ROTC student, Thaddeus Vincent McClinton was.
MSVU has a multitude of football players who went on to play in the National Football League. Among those players is the NFL Hall of Famer, Jerry Rice. While at Mississippi Valley, Rice broke many school records.
College Choice Score: 79.87
Average Net Price: $19,831
In his “Dusk of Dawn,” W.E.B. Du Bois describes his time at Fisk University as an awakening. He says, “[His] knowledge of the race problem became more definite.” The HBCU has played a vital role in educating African Americans since 1866. Notable alumni include Ida B. Wells, Diane Nash, John Lewis, and Nikki Giovanni.
Fisk’s world-renowned Jubilee Singers began traveling the world in 1871 to raise funds for their school. They did so well that they sang for many prominent audiences, and other HBCUs followed the Jubilee model. Currently, Fisk is also known for being the number one producer of underrepresented minority Masters in Physics degrees, and as one of the best colleges by Forbes, The Washington Monthly, and the Princeton Review.
Students appreciate the school’s unique history, but they also like the familial atmosphere of Fisk. Faith Mays, a current junior at Fisk University likes the numerous activities that the school has for students. As an athlete on the ladies’ basketball team, she says that she enjoys serving the community by going to public schools and reading to children.
Winston-Salem State University
College Choice Score: 79.8
Average Net Price: $7,737
Winston-Salem State University was founded in 1892 and is a historically black university within the University of North Carolina system. The Wall Street Journal named the school as the top HBCU in the state. The North Carolina Department of Commerce has also named it as one of the best schools for the highest salary after receiving an undergraduate or graduate degree.
The university is not only active in the community of Winston-Salem, but faculty members and students make a global impact. Following a fire that destroyed the University of Jos’ library in Nigeria, WSSU faculty and students sent more than 800 books to the University. MBA students also impact the community and gain experience by partnering with local organizations.
Winston-Salem State University has 40 undergraduate majors and over ten graduate programs and over seven online certificates and programs. There are so many ways for you to excel at WSSU. If you want to join the RAM nation, then you can enroll at one of the best HBCUs in the nation.
Jackson State University
College Choice Score: 79.34
Average Net Price: $10,417
Jackson State University (JSU) is a public HBCU that was established as Natchez Seminary in 1877. After moving to Jackson, Mississippi, Natchez Seminary changed its name to Jackson State University. The school expanded its curriculum to offer more options to its students. Today, the university aims to produce “technologically-advanced, diverse, ethical, global leaders who think critically, address societal problems and compete effectively.”
If you want to go to an HBCU with plenty of degree options, then you should go to JSU. Jackson State offers more than 90 bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs. Although the school provides a substantial amount of degree options, the school maintains at 15:1 student to teacher ratio.
Jackson State produces creative, socially conscious, and active students. After her experience during the Ferguson protests, Karmeen, a junior computer science major, started her own marketing business to help black businesses. Karmeen stands in the legacy of alumnus Charles F. Moore who donated $100,000 to JSU to start a scholarship fund. Moore was a black, self-made millionaire in Chicago, owning a construction company and a chain of motels.
College Choice Score: 77.89
Average Net Price: $9,796
Rust College is 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee, in Holly Springs, Mississippi (the birthplace of Ida B. Wells). The historically black college was established in 1866 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. At its genesis, the school was known as Shaw University. However, in 1892 the school changed its name to Rust College to avoid confusion with another institution.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Rust College. Rusts’ academic divisions include Business, Education, Humanities, Science and Math, and Social Science. Biology, Business Administration, and Computer Science are some of the popular degrees at the school.
Rust College seeks to be a premier private liberal arts college that serves young people throughout the world. The school nurtures academic discipline and personal development. Rust prides itself in being an institution that promotes education, research, and community service.
Elizabeth City State University
College Choice Score: 77.82
Average Net Price: $2,490
Elizabeth City State University is a constituent institution of the University of North Carolina. The school was established in 1891 as a result of Hugh Cale sponsoring a House Bill to begin a normal school for African Americans. Under President John Bias, the school transitioned from being a two-year school to a four-year school and changed its name to its present form in 1937.
Elizabeth City State University stands as one of the best HBCUs, being ranked year after year as a distinguished institution of higher learning. The school is College Choice’s most economically efficient school with an average net price of $2,490. The school is military friendly and one the greenest HBCUs.
The University focuses on accountability, diversity, and excellence. Along with the school’s many majors, it offers programs like military science, honors program, and Viking Fellows. If you are interested in studying abroad, Elizabeth City State University partners with CAPA International. Students study in London, Dublin, and Sydney.
Coppin State University
College Choice Score: 77.48
Average Net Price: $9,407
Black women have played key roles in the rise of HBCUs. The success and history of Coppin State University is named in honor of Fanny Jackson Coppin. Although Coppin was born a slave, she gained her freedom, “graduated from Oberlin College…and founded Philadelphia Institute.”
Coppin State University is a distinguished historically black university in Baltimore, Maryland. The university has 53 majors and nine graduate degree programs. Students enjoy the benefits of taking classes online, abroad, at Hagerstown, and there are even opportunities to take courses at the University of Baltimore.
When you study at Coppin State, you will work with professors who are recognized internationally. Coppin faculty members are acknowledged for excellence in teaching, IT research and more. With five faculty organizations to support the teachers, you can be sure that the school is investing in you as much as they are investing in your professors.
Morgan State University
College Choice Score: 76.77
Average Net Price: $14,654
Before Morgan State University was named after Rev. Lyttleton F. Morgan in 1890, the school was known as the Centenary Biblical Institute. Morgan State University is in Baltimore, Maryland and is an HBCU that enrolls about 7,700 students each year. The university’s programs range from bachelor’s degrees to doctoral degrees.
Morgan State has ten schools and colleges. Its College of Liberal Arts is the largest among the ten schools. The school recently built a new Earl S. Richardson Library. The library holds a collection of the James E. Lewis Museum of Art as well as the Beulah M. Davis Special Collection Department for African-American books, manuscripts, artifacts and Morganiana.
Morgan State University is in solidarity with other HBCUs that are working to promote renewable energy. The school is part of the HBCU Clean Energy Consortium. The coalition of HBCUs lead in innovation and attempts to expand the number of graduates in STEM fields.
College Choice Score: 76.01
Average Net Price: $11,527
Lane College is a historically black college with strong ties to the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. The school purposes to develop “the whole student.” Bishop Isaac Lane, a former slave, founded the college in 1882.
The student population of the bachelor degree granting institution is about 1,500 students. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the private, 4-year, liberal arts college.
As Lane’s President Logan Hampton puts it, the school follows its African-American legacy by holding faith and reason together. Hampton says, “Faith and reason are inextricably intertwined, in that whatever one is called and inspired to through faith, she or he must employ reason to bring it to fruition.” The school offers major and minor degrees in religion.
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
College Choice Score: 75.34
Average Net Price: $13,841
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) began in response to African-American students being ostracized from higher education. Dating back to 1890, the historically black, land-grant institution has a mission to provide high quality, relevant education for all. “Distinctive learning, discovery and engagement opportunities in the arts and sciences, education, technology, engineering, agriculture, and business and health” characterize many of the possibilities available to students.
Not only is UMES a prominent research institution, but it carries out its tradition and value for educating all people through its University Engagement & Lifelong Learning initiative. By partnering with local communities, the initiative makes a scholarly impact on Maryland citizens. Another subgroup of the school’s community outreach is called “MADE” (Men Achieving Dreams Through Education).
The University of Maryland Eastern Shore has about 4,500 students. Its top five degree programs include Criminal Justice, Biology, Exercise Science, Sociology, and Human Ecology. If you visit UMES’ campus, you may be shocked by its sizeable campus. The University has 48 buildings.
Albany State University
College Choice Score: 74.86
Average Net Price: $12,303
Established in 1903, Albany State University (ASU) is a four-year, state, historically black university in Albany, Georgia. The university is part of the University system of Georgia and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Recently, ASU and Darton State College consolidated to form the New Albany State University.
Students at Albany State University were critical during the Civil Rights Movement. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee created the Albany Movement (Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the protesters) to take a stand against the unjust treatment and social trauma placed on African Americans. Albany students were at the forefront of the action, and many were suspended and later given honorary doctorate degrees.
Today, ASU stands as a promising school with a top-ranked nursing program, forensic science program, and it is one of the most affordable colleges in the nation. The school has 13 certificate programs, 14 associate degree programs, 28 undergraduate degree programs, and 12 graduate degree programs.
University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
College Choice Score: 74.74
Average Net Price: $7,452
The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) began as Branch Normal College to educate blacks to become teachers. In 1873, John Middleton Clayton sponsored a legislative act to establish the school. The school changed its name to Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College in 1927. When the school merged with the University of Arkansas system, the institution changed its name to The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
The Higher Learning Commission accredits the 1890, Land-Grant HBCU. The School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences, Arts and Sciences, Education, Business and Management, and University College, encompass the many options that students have at UAPB. The school awards certificates and associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees.
At UAPB students enjoy out of the class experiences. The school offers so many activities to keep them engaged. It has “more than 90 student organizations, an internationally renowned Vesper Choir, Marching Band, Concert Bands, Wind Symphony, nationally recognized debate team, award-winning theater department and accomplished athletic program.”
Norfolk State University
College Choice Score: 74.43
Average Net Price: $11,874
Norfolk State University (NSU) is a public, liberal arts historically black university in the state of Virginia. The school evolved from Norfolk State Collee (1935) to Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University, to Norfolk State University. Throughout its evolution, the school focused on excellent teaching, scholarship, and transforming lives.
NSU provides 31 bachelor’s degree programs, two associate degree programs, fifteen master’s degree programs, and three doctoral degree programs. The school also has top athletic teams that compete in the NCAA Division I level. The Spartans’ men’s basketball team have made a few appearances to the NCAA tournament in recent years.
Na’im Akbar is one of NSU’s distinguished alumni. Akbar is an Afrocentric scholar of psychology. He has significantly contributed to the mental health of African Americans through his work as well as critique Eurocentric traditions of psychology. Na’im Akbar is the author of “Visions for Black Men.”
Kentucky State University
College Choice Score: 74.27
Average Net Price: $8,386
If you want to go to an HBCU that prioritizes students first, then you should look at Kentucky State University (KSU). Its student-centered philosophy says, “In everything we do, our students come first.” The school also values social responsibility, ethical conduct, and excellence and innovation.
Kentucky State University is a historically black university, and the institution respects and embraces diversity. Its attention to students from all backgrounds has a global impact. For example, one of its students, Yingluck Shinawatra (’91), was the Prime Minister of Thailand from 2011-2013. Civil Rights leader and executive director of the National Urban League, Whitney M. Young, Jr., was also a student at Kentucky State University.
Did you know that you do not have to wait until you finish high school to attend KSU? The university’s Dual Credit program allows high school students to take college classes for credit. The Dual Credit program reduces college expenses and gives students a jumpstart on their career.
College Choice Score: 73.69
Average Net Price: $26,979
Originally known as Oakwood Industrial School (1896), Oakwood Manual Training School (1904), Oakwood Junior College (1917), and Oakwood College (1943), Oakwood University began in1896. The Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church founded the school based on their Christian faith and desire to disseminate education among freed slaves. Oakwood University is in Huntsville, Alabama.
Oakwood University places great emphasis on Religion and Theology. If you visit the school’s website, the title, “God First!” rests alongside “Oakwood University.” Oakwood’s religion department offers majors in Ministerial Theology, Pastoral Care and Pre-Chaplaincy, Biblical Studies and Languages, Church Leadership, and Religious Education.
Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) is a consortium of SDA universities in North America that provide opportunities for students to study abroad. As a member of the consortium, Oakwood University students have opportunities to study in Argentina, Austria, France, Kenya, and Spain.
Southern University and A & M College
College Choice Score: 73.29
Average Net Price: $11,495
Southern University and A&M College (SU) is a historically black university in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The school is part of the Southern University System as well as the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. SU was established in 1880.
The Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences at Southern University is the only college of government in Louisiana. The college offers undergraduate in Criminal Justice, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology. Its graduate degrees include an M.S. in Criminal Justice, Master of Public Administration, M.A. in Social Science, and an Executive Master of Public Administration. The school also offers a Ph.D. in Public Policy.
Southern University has a unique agreement with California Community Colleges (CCC). Although SU is in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the university will begin a partnership that gives admission to CCC transfer students. California Community Colleges made this agreement as part of its partnerships to HBCU institutions.
Texas Southern University
College Choice Score: 72.89
Average Net Price: $12,307
Texas is one of the largest states in the United States. In light of this, you should not be surprised that Texas Southern University (TSU) is one of the largest historically black universities in the nation. The school has 45 buildings that sit on 150 acres of land. Not to mention, TSU is in the center of the fourth largest city in the United States—Houston, Texas.
TSU has 12 distinguished colleges and schools. Not only is Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall Law School is one of the best in the nation, but it is one of the best for minorities and African Americans. The National Jurist ranked the law school as the best in diversity in the country.
Texas Southern University is an “urban-serving” and “student-centered” institution that focuses on excellence, innovation, inclusiveness, and leadership and responsibility. If you want to join an academic community that values diversity and scholarship but has a strong tradition of celebration, then you should check out TSU.
Alabama A & M University
College Choice Score: 72.44
Average Net Price: $14,746
William Hooper Councill, a former slave, began the legacy of Alabama A&M University when he founded Huntsville Normal School in 1875. Today, the HBCU rests on a beautiful campus that is five minutes from downtown Huntsville. Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., the designer of Central Park in New York City, laid out Alabama A&M’s campus.
Students at Alabama A&M come from 44 states and 11 countries. There are approximately 5,000 undergraduates and 875 graduate students. The school has 93 clubs and organizations and contribute to its local community through community service. The student-faculty ratio is 20:1, with close to 350 faculty members.
The University has five undergraduate schools in Agricultural and Environmental, Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, and Engineering and Technology. Alabama A&M offers 41 bachelor’s degrees, 23 Master’s degrees, 1 E.Ds. and four doctoral degrees. The school has more than 37,000 alumni.
Alabama State University
College Choice Score: 70.69
Average Net Price: $10,905
With $500 raised by nine freed slaves, the Marion Nine started one of the oldest historical black institutions for educating African Americans. Alabama State University is in Montgomery, Alabama, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, attorney Fred Gray, and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth are alumni of the Alabama State University.
In “Bus Ride to Justice,” Fred Gray reflects on his days as a student when the school was Alabama State College. He says, “In those days, Alabama State College was the center of cultural activities for African Americans in Montgomery because it was one of the few public places where they were not subject to constant racial discrimination.”
Today, Alabama State University continues to be a place for of refuge and advancement for African Americans as well as other people. The school invests in its students by giving them academic resources and providing organizations for development. As evidenced in a generous donation, an alumnus believes in the school and its students so much that he paid the remainder the tuition of a group of senior students.
Virginia Union University
College Choice Score: 70.54
Average Net Price: $19,164
If you want to study with some of the brightest HBCU students, then you should go to Virginia Union University (VUU) in Richmond, Virginia. This year VUU will compete in the Honda Campus All-Star National Academic Championship Tournament. The competition gathers the top 48 student teams among HBCUs to compete in a quiz bowl. The contest initially began with 76 historically black colleges and universities.
VUU’s mission is guided by its African American heritage and strives toward excellence and diversity. The school seeks to provide an intellectual and spiritual learning environment, empower students to develop high moral values, and develop scholars and leaders. Virginia Union University’s Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology nurtures many of the school’s values by partnering with the church and the community as an African-American institution.
Virginia Union University has three centers as resources for faculty members, students, staff and the Richmond community. The Center for the Study of the Urban Child, the Center for Small Business Development, and the Center for International Studies serves to aid the academic community at VUU.
Fort Valley State University
College Choice Score: 70.15
Average Net Price: $14,122
Fort Valley State University (FVSU) is a historically black university in Fort Valley, Georgia. The school is part of the University System of Georgia and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. FVSU’s outstanding biology and chemistry departments are responsible for sending more “students of African descent to medical and dental programs in the state of Georgia.”
FSVU’s College of Arts and Sciences is a leader in African American education. The college houses 10 of the university’s departments. Biology, Chemistry, Business Administration and Economics, Geography, and Mathematics and Computer Science make up some of the programs within the College of Arts and Sciences. The college leads the nation in producing the most number of African-American graduates in mathematics.
As a result of a $287,000 National Science Foundation Historically Black College and Universities-Undergraduate Program Targeted Infusion Projects (NSF HBCU-Up TIP) grant, two students were able to use the software at FVSU’s criminology lab to solve crimes. The students interned with Seema Dhir, an assistant professor of biology at FVSU to use a Shoeprint Image Capture and Retrieval Database.
Alcorn State University
College Choice Score: 69.75
Average Net Price: $14,520
If you’ve heard of “Roots: The Saga of an American Family,” or if you’ve read “The Autobiography of Malcolm X,” then chances are you’ve heard of Alex Haley, an Alcorn State University alumnus. Alcorn State University is a land-grant HBCU, established in 1871. Currently, the university has colleges in Alcorn, Natchez, and Vicksburg.
Alcorn State has about 4,000 total students. The school offers associate, baccalaureate, master’s, and specialist degrees. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits the institution.
Civil Rights activist and martyr Medgar Wiley Evers is another famous alumnus of Alcorn State University. Evers attempted to integrate the University of Mississippi Law School after 1954, Brown v. Board of Education supposedly ended school segregation. Evers was eventually assassinated in the name of freedom. Medgar Evers College, a City University of New York is named after the Alcorn State alumnus.
Virginia State University
College Choice Score: 68.78
Average Net Price: $15,042
Virginia State University (VSU) is in Petersburg, Virginia. The historically black university is a public, land-grant institution that was established in 1882. ESSENCE magazine ranked VSU as one of the top 20 best colleges for African Americans in the United States.
VSU says, “The first person to bear the title of president (of the school), John Mercer Langston, was a well-known African-American of his day.” John Mercer Langston was elected to the U.S. Congress, and he was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes.
With its peculiar African-American heritage and commitment to teaching, advisement, and mentoring, it is no wonder that Virginia State University is a top school for African Americans. The university has seven colleges, 55 baccalaureate and master’s programs, two doctoral programs, and two certificate programs.
Grambling State University
College Choice Score: 68.29
Average Net Price: $17,202
Grambling State University is arguably one of the most spirited historically black universities in the nation. The school’s Tiger Marching Band is famous throughout the world—performing in presidential inaugurations, the Battle of the Bands, and the Bayou Classic. New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow and Grammy-winner Erykah Badu are two of the school’s alumni.
Grambling State University is a place where “everybody is somebody.” The University offers more than 800 courses and 47 degrees within its five colleges. Alumna Angela Perez says, “There’s nothing like being a part of the #GramFam. The family love goes beyond just being a student on campus; it’s something that you’re a part of forever.”
It is hard to think of Grambling State University without mentioning the most “winningest” coach in college football—Eddie Robinson. If you go to Grambling State University, you will not only join a school that has a history of winning on the football field, but you will join a university that wins academically, socially, spiritually, and culturally.
College Choice Score: 68.23
Average Net Price: $28,414
What does Booker T. Washington, George W. Carver, the Tuskegee Airmen, Lionel Richie, Alice Coachmen, Ralph Ellison, Amelia Robinson, Tom Joyner, and Elizabeth Wright have in Common? If your answer has anything to do with Tuskegee University, then you are correct. The above figures were professors and alumni of the school that was a model for so many other HBCUs.
Tuskegee University is an independent historically black college in Tuskegee, Alabama. The university has eight colleges and schools including the Air Force ROTC, Army ROTC, and Naval ROTC. The school still holds true to its legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen by producing the most African-American aerospace science engineers in the nation.
Along with the school’s history, there are many reasons to apply to Tuskegee University. Tuskegee is the largest producer of African-Americans with baccalaureate degrees in Math, Science, and Engineering in the state of Alabama. The university continues the legacies of Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver with its emphasis on science and technology. The school’s Center for Plant Biotechnology Research trains scientists and students in the U.S., China, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Egypt, and Tanzania.
College Choice Score: 67.58
Average Net Price: $17,030
Stillman College is named after the Reverend Dr. Charles Allen Stillman, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Tuscaloosa. The private, historically black liberal arts college held its first classes in 1876. Rev. Stillman was the brain behind the academic institution.
The college’s affiliation with the Presbyterian Church grounds its commitment to academic enterprise, principles of faith, and service for the common interest. The school aims to produce students who will continue to do graduate work or successfully begin their careers upon graduation. Independent research, objective scholarship, and creativity are some of the school’s hopeful outcomes for its students.
Although Stillman is a private school, it has a public mission. The school is set to take an educational trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Robben Island, and the Mandela House. The Division of Arts and Sciences and the Division of Professional Education make up the Stillman College. The school has about 1,000 students.