Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, are defined by Congress as institutions “established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans.” According to the Pew Research Center, there are 101 HBCUs in the United States and U.S. Virgin Islands. This article will offer an overview of HBCUs—the most popular schools, tuition rates, and typical enrollment.
There is a heated debate surrounding which school was the inaugural HBCU. Cheyney University began in 1837 as the African Institute and was officially chartered in 1914 when it issued its first diploma. On the opposing end, Lincoln was established and chartered in 1854—there were no in-between years for LU. The discussion surrounding it boils down to this: which counts more, the year it was established or the year it became a university? Whatever the case, the debate has fostered a vibrant rivalry between the two schools.
Of the 101 HBCUs, U.S. News has recently ranked them all based on factors like tuition costs, enrollment, SATs, GPA and more. We’ll offer a quick snapshot of the top 10 black colleges featured on the list:
#1 Spelman College
Spelman is an all-women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia. Tuition falls around $29,000 with a student enrollment of 2,137.
#2 Howard University
Is this the real HU? Howard is located in Washington, DC. Tuition is $26,000 with 6,354 students.
#3 Xavier University
Known as a great STEM school, Xavier is a private university in New Orleans, Louisiana. Tuition is $24,000 and the school serves 2,293 students.
#4 Tuskegee University
The only HBCU to be officially named a historical site, Tuskegee University is rich with history. Tuition at this Alabama campus is $22,000.
#5 Hampton University
Or is this the real HU? Located in Hampton, Virginia, this school’s study body sits at 3,799. Tuition here is $26,000.
#6 Morehouse College
It’s a tie! U.S. News found Morehouse and Hampton both fit for that number three spot. Morehouse is an all-men’s college in Atlanta, Georgia. 2,202 Morehouse men are in attendance, and tuition runs about $27,000.
#7 Florida A&M University
FAMU! This university has two types of vastly different tuition tiers--$17,000 for out-of-state students, $5,000 for the in-state. The state generally offers in-state students this type of incentive. Located in Tallahassee, Florida, 8, 024 students make up FAMU.
#8 NC A&T
Another tie!. The school with “The Greatest Homecoming on Earth” has a student body of 10,341. Tuition is $19,000.
#9 Claflin University
Orangeburg, South Carolina is the hub of this HBCU. With 2,038 students, tuition at Claflin is $16,000.
#10 Fisk University
Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Fisk University is made up of only 664 students—small, but full of culture! Tuition here is around $21,000.
Altogether, HBCU tuition rates are almost 30% less than at other institutions, including PWIs. Coahoma Community College (Clarksdale, Mississippi) costs around $4,940 for in-state tuition. Plus, financial aid in HBCUs ensure their students are taken care of, working to retain every person on their way to graduation. The smaller student bodies for these holds true for all HBCUS—on the whole, they’re more intimate, resulting in a more family-like appeal on the whole campus.