HBCU colleges have gained a reputation for being among the best in the country. This is due to the fact that the staff and teachers at these schools genuinely care about their students and want them to succeed both personally and professionally.
Because of the unique focus of HBCUs, your college experience will be enriched by the presence of many people from similar backgrounds and cultural experiences. Faculty and fellow students will form a unique community of support and understanding for you.
Now that today’s post covers characteristics of historically black colleges and the scholarship programs they offer, it’s your job to see if one of these HBCU colleges is the best fit for your education.
What are HBCU Colleges?
HBCUs are historically black colleges and universities in the United States that were founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The institutions’ official aim is to ensure that African American students obtain a high-quality education. Also, nationally recognized accrediting institutions and associations must accredit the universities.
Students of all races and ethnicities are accepted at today’s HBCUs. There are over 100 HBCU colleges in the United States, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs.
Famous alumni from HBCUs include Dr. Martin Luther King (Morehouse College), Andrew Young (Dillard University and Howard University), Toni Morrison (Howard University), and Oprah Winfrey (Tennessee State University).
What Characteristics Designate a School as HBCU?
Here are five of some of the best characteristics students will find at HBCU colleges:
1. Accept Low-Income, First-Generation College Students
HBCU colleges have one-eighth the endowment of other private institutions in the country, yet they take more low-income and first-generation college students than any other type of university.
These schools achieve this by pushing students to take advantage of Pell Grants and PLUS loans. In addition, the schools offer HBCU-specific scholarships to guarantee that all students have an equal opportunity to receive an education.
2. Confer 22 Percent of All Bachelor Degrees to African Americans
One of the most intriguing aspects of HBCUs is that African Americans receive 22% of all bachelor’s degrees conferred by these universities. Professional degrees, such as engineering, law, and medicine, are the most popular at HBCU colleges.
Students that graduate from a prestigious HBCU go on to get graduate degrees, become influential members of their communities, and stay committed to their industry.
3. Long-Standing History of Community and Public Service
These institutions are well-known for their long history of community service. They are also politically active, spurred on by history and current events to stir debate and raise their voices in support of equality, justice, and truth.
While these schools do not engage in public discussions, they do teach their pupils the importance of giving back to the communities from which they came. In fact, volunteer work is regarded as a mark of quality at HBCU colleges.
4. High Number of Graduates Move into Professional Fields
Graduates of HBCU colleges have a long history of going on to professional jobs and graduate school. It’s no surprise that HBCUs are competitive in fields including engineering, business, academics, and law.
These graduates receive a world-class education as well as the motivation they need to pursue advanced degrees in their fields.
This is reflected in the fact that more than 40% of African American members of Congress, 50% of African American lawyers, and 80% of African American judges are HBCU graduates.
5. Black History and Culture is Part of the Main Curriculum
Few universities in the United States require African American history and culture as part of the core curriculum, but it has never been an issue at HBCU colleges.
Students learn more about America as a whole, good and bad when they experience the country through the eyes of their ancestors. Also, their courses offer up new debating topics.
List of HBCU Colleges Across the U.S. and their Scholarships
Academic requirements, affordability, outcomes, and student assistance were all taken into account while determining the best HBCU colleges. The following school profiles delve into each institution’s history, current successes, and upcoming ventures.
1. Bowie State University
Originally founded in the 1860s as a baptist church offering free teaching classes and later named the Baltimore Normal School for Colored Teachers, Bowie State University is the oldest HBCU in the state of Maryland and among the 10 HBCUs oldest in the country.
Bowie State has been considered a leading producer of African American graduates with degrees in STEM fields. Students seeking a STEM-centered education can choose from degrees in fields like computer science, mathematics, military science, and biology.
Bowie State University offers an array of scholarships – each with its own set criteria for consideration. Some examples of BSU scholarships are merit-based scholarships for undergraduate students, transfer students, and students from the honors programs.
2. Delaware State University
Originally founded as the Delaware School for Colored Students in 1891, this HBCU institution currently enrolls 4,600 students and has a student-to-faculty ratio of 16-to-1. In addition to the main Dover campus, DSU operates satellite campuses in two other Delaware cities, Georgetown and Wilmington.
The university’s most popular major fields of study include accounting, mass communications, movement science, management, and psychology. Additionally, the university offers a unique Africana Studies minor that includes coursework in African American history, literature, and politics.
DSU is considered a top school for undocumented immigrant students who have received educational assistance from the Opportunity Scholarship Program. The university enrolls nearly 50 Opportunity Scholarship students and was one of two schools nationwide to accept applications from these scholarship recipients.
In addition to financial assistance for dreamers, other DSU scholarships include the Inspire Scholarship and scholarships for incoming freshmen.
3. Fayetteville State University
Originally part of the Howard School proposed by the Freedmen’s Bureau, this North Carolina HBCU opened its doors in 1877 as the first state-sponsored teaching college for African American educators.
Fayetteville State is the top producer of African American graduates in the state of North Carolina, though 25% of the university’s diverse student body identify as non-African American.
The university has a history of supporting students in the military, and today offers online programs tailored to military personnel in fields like sociology, fire science, and business administration.
Fayetteville State University and external agencies offer an array of FSU scholarships to assist students with their educational expenses like Chancellor’s Special Talent Scholarship and Dr. Valeria Fleming STEM Scholarship.
4. Florida A&M University
FAMU was founded as the State Normal College for Colored Students in 1887 and began classes with 15 students and two instructors. The university enrolls nearly 10,000 students from more than 70 countries, including several African and Caribbean nations.
FAMU is the largest among historically black colleges and universities in the state of Florida. The university offers undergraduate and graduates degrees through its School of Agriculture and Food Sciences. Fields of study include agribusiness, plant science, entomology, and soil and water.
The university provides a wide range of FAMU scholarships for both current and incoming students, such as the Life-Gets-Better and Thurgood Marshall Programs.
5. Hampton University
Hampton University is a comprehensive historically black university offering degree programs ranging from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees. The school ranks #3 in the US News and World Reports list of best historically black colleges and universities and is regionally ranked #18 across all Southern universities.
It is home to 4,646 students from 49 different states and 35 nations and territories. Hampton boasts the lowest student to faculty ratio in this ranking at 9:1. Notable alumni include Martin Luther King Jr.’s mother Alberta Williams King as well as Booker T. Washington.
Hampton University offers a variety of academic scholarships and need-based grants, as well as educational grant awards from other states’ higher-education agencies. Some examples of Hampton U scholarships are the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant and PLUS Loan.
6. Howard University
Howard University is a top historically black university as well as a private high research activity institution of higher education. The university is comprised of 13 different schools and colleges and offers degree programs in over 120 academic fields of study.
Howard is a leader in STEM fields and produces more African American doctoral graduates in the fields of science and engineering than almost any other university in the country. It ranks #2 in US News & World Report’s list of best historically black colleges and universities.
Just like other HBCU colleges, Howard University also provides many scholarship opportunities for its deserving students. Some of the most sought-after Howard scholarships are the Howard University Freshman Scholarships and the Howard University Leadership Scholarships.
7. Morgan State University
Morgan State University is a top HBCU located in northeast Baltimore City. The school is a comprehensive public university offering a wide range of bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctoral programs with a particular emphasis on the arts and sciences at the undergraduate level.
Popular majors include business, management, marketing, and engineering. US News & World Report ranks the school #20 on its list of top historically black colleges and universities, and the school continually ranks high in terms of the number of doctoral degrees awarded to African Americans.
Among many MSU scholarships are include Honors Scholarships, Athletic Grants, and Maryland Higher Education Commission Scholarships.
8. Oakwood University
Established by Seventh-Day Adventists in 1896 to provide educational opportunities for freed slaves, Oakwood University is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama.
The university was accredited as a junior college in 1943, and 15 years later received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) as a provider of associate and bachelor’s degrees.
Undergraduates can choose from 58-degree pathways, including faith-based fields like pastoral care and pre-chaplaincy, ministerial theology, and religious education. The university also offers an extensive number of bachelor’s programs grounded in STEM and healthcare fields.
Students entering Oakwood University can apply to these Oakwood scholarships: Oakwood University First Time Freshmen Scholarships, Seventh-Day Adventist Church Scholarships, and My Road to Graduation Scholarship.
9. Prairie View A&M University
A land grant HBCU established in 1876, Prairie View A&M University is the second oldest public institution of higher education in the United States. The school offers 50 undergraduate majors, 37 master’s degree programs, and 3 doctoral programs.
Popular majors include engineering, nursing, and education. Undergraduate enrollment totals nearly 7,000 and graduate enrollment is almost 2,000. US News and World Report ranked Prairie View A&M #30 in their list of best HBCU colleges.
Prairie View A&M University offers a number of PVAMU scholarships for undergraduate, graduate, transfer, and continuing students that show promise through academics, leadership, and/or community involvement.
10. Southern University and A&M College
Southern University and A&M College is a top HBCU offering a wide range of academic programs on both the undergraduate and graduate levels. US News & World Report ranks it #40 in its publication of best historically black colleges and universities.
Enrolled students can choose from among 30 baccalaureate majors and 22 master’s degree programs, including popular majors such as business, management, marketing, homeland security, engineering, and psychology.
Southern University and A&M College provides many resources for current and prospective students seeking scholarship funding. Some of the famous SU scholarships are departmental scholarships and the Dolores Margaret Richard Spikies Honor College Scholarship.
11. Tennessee State University
Tennessee State University is a top historically black university located just outside of downtown Nashville. Its 7,264 undergraduate students have over 40 undergraduate majors to choose from, and graduate students can pursue one of 24 master’s degree programs or 7 doctoral programs.
Students also enjoy an active student life with over 100 different student organizations on campus. Notable alumni from Tennessee State include Oprah Winfrey and track and field star Wilma Randolph. The school ranks #22 on US News & World Report’s list of best HBCU colleges.
Many of Tennessee State University’s colleges and academic departments offer TSU scholarships for prospective and continuing students who have met academic requirements for their respective majors.
12. Winston-Salem State University
Founded in 1892 as a teaching academy for African Americans, Winston-Salem State University leads all UNC constituent schools for graduate job placement and the average salary for graduates in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina.
Additionally, WSSU is the largest producer of black graduates in the fields of nursing, health professions, and education. Also, WSSU is the only HBCU to offer a bachelor’s degree in the field of motorsport management, as well.
WSSU offers more than 50 undergraduate and graduate degree and certification programs. Most of these pathways are concentrated in the university’s College of Arts, Sciences, Business, and Education.
In addition to offering WSSU Merit Scholarships, the university also collaborates with many external parties to provide scholarship funding.