Image credit to Miriam Roy
Image credit to Miriam Roy

Top 10 HBCUs

HBCU stands for Historically Black College and/or University. They are located mostly in the East and are known for educating black students in the 19th century. The first HBCU, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, was founded in 1837 and is still functioning today; but times were different back in the 1800’s. Now, there’s a range of 107 HBCU’s in America, the top 10 being Spelman College, Howard University, Tuskegee University, Morehouse College, Xavier University of Louisiana, Hampton University, Florida A&M University, Delaware State University, Claflin University, and North Carolina A&T State University. Let’s dive in!

#1 Spelman University

Coming in at number one, Spelman University. Spelman is an all women, private HBCU located in Atlanta Georgia. Spelman is a rather small college with around 2400 students. Their top majors are biology, psychology, health, science, and international studies. Their cost in tuition and room and board comes to around $45,000 per year. Some facts about Spellman are that their campus shares the same land as Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, and Morehouse School of Medicine, which makes up the Atlanta University Center Consortium(AUCC) that is a collaboration of the four. Spellman was founded in 1881 and their mascot is the Jaguars. Spelman is ranked number one due to their graduating of black women in STEM, which is a common interest. Their colors are blue and white in their motto is “Our whole school for Christ”. Some alumni are

#2 Howard University

In second place, we have Howard University here in the heart of DC. Like Spelman, Howard is a private research and STEM school with 143 programs of study. Howard was founded in 1867. Their top fields of study are STEM, health services, and social justice. Their undergrad population is 10,491. The cost of tuition and room and board is about $32,000 per year. Their colors are blue, white, and red and their mascot is the bison. Howard is a coed school, but does have a higher percentage of women(67%). Their homecomings, sports divisions, band, and dance team are very popular and gain a lot of attention. Overall, Howard is a very popular and engaging school. Some alumni are Chadwick Boseman, Thurgood Marshall, Kamala Harris, Toni Morrison, Phylicia Rashad, and Taraji P. Henson. She graduated at Howard in 1995 after transferring from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

#3 Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University is located in Tuskegee, Alabama. They produce the most African-American aerospace science engineers in the nation. Tuskegee was founded in 1881, their colors are crimson and gold, and their mascot is the golden tigers. Their top programs of study are Engineering, Registered nursing, and Animal studies. Tuskegee is actually the only HBCU with a fully accredited College of Veterinary Medicine that offers the Doctoral Degree. With around 2,100 students, the cost of tuition and room and board is about $32,000 per year. Tuskegee has made history and has contributed to putting HBCUs on the map, being the only one declared a historic site by the US Congress and has originated the Tuskegee Airmen with the US Army Air Corps. Tuskegee’s contributions and dedication to producing great, black students has given them great accreditations and opportunities. Some alumni are Lionel Richie, Al Green, Betty Shabazz, and Ralph Ellison.

#4 Morehouse College

Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia is one of the campuses a part of the AUCC. This college is the “brother” to Spelman as it is an all male campus. Like Spelman, their campus is rather small with about 2,200 students. Their tuition and room and board is nearly $40,000. They are the best liberal arts college and specialize in Business, Management, and Marketing. The colors are maroon and white, with the mascot being the maroon tiger. This college was founded in 1867 and some former names of theirs were Atlanta Baptist Seminary and Atlanta Baptist College. The name Morehouse College was adopted in 1913. Some famous alumni are Spike Lee, Martin Luther King Sr. and Jr., Julian Bond, and Brian Tyree Henry.

#5 Xavier University of Louisiana

Just nine minutes away from the infamous New Orleans, home of Mardi Gras, is Xavier University of Louisiana.  Xavier is a private, coed Catholic school with colors of gold and white. Their mascot is the Gold Digga and some nicknames are “Gold Rush” and “Gold Nuggets”. They have about 3,500 students and average GPA of 3.67. The cost of tuition/room and board is about $38,000 per year. The university was founded in 1925 and is the only black, Catholic college. This is a liberal arts university and their top majors are Biology, Psychology, and Public health. Hurricane Katrina had temporarily shut the campus down in 2005, but they reopened in 2006. Some alumni are Alexis Hermna, Annie Easley, Karim Camara, and Marino Casem.

#6 Hampton University

Located in Hampton Virginia and founded in 1868, there Hampton university lies. Hampton is a very significant HBCU because it has many historical relations. The Emancipation Oak on Hampton’s campus is the first place Mary Smith Peake taught her class after many slaves had escaped bondage and came to the Grand Contraband Camp. Many slaves had escaped to Fort Monroe because Major General Benjamin Butler declared that any slaves that came past Union line in the Civil War would be free. This was in 1861. Two years later, the first reading of the Emancipation Proclamation was read under that same oak tree. It stands on Hampton’s campus as a symbol for education for all. The school had gone through much more historical events, welcoming civil rights activists, and making an impact to educate whoever they could. Their colors are white and blue with a mascot being the pirates. Cost of tuition/ room and board is around $47,000. Their top majors are Business, Science, and Liberal Arts. They have about 3,500 students enrolled and fall in the NCAA Division 1 with a rather popular athletic program. Some alumni are Wanda Sykes, Booker T. Washington, Devin Green, and Ruth E. Carter.

#7 Florida A&M University

FAMU, located in Tallahassee, Florida, is the #1 public HBCU. Founded in 1887, FAMU started off as Florida A&M College with only 15 students and 2 teachers. They transformed to University in 1905 and underwent an abrupt height in popularity. Now, they have an undergrad population of about 10,000. Their colors are green and orange, and their mascot is the Rattler. Beyond the main campus, FAMU has other satellite campuses across Florida, such as College of Law in Orlando, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Institute of Public Health. Their tuition/room and board is about $35,000 per year. The A&M stands for Agricultural and Mechanical, making it a STEM participating school. They have over 300 clubs and organizations that keep students involved and the Efferson Student Union & Activities(ESUA) keeps everything organized. Some alumni are Anika Noni Rose, Common, Pam Oliver, K. Michelle, and Will Parker.

#8 Delaware State

Delaware State, aka Del State, was founded in 1891. They have 3 campuses, DSU Downton, DSU Georgetiwn, and DSU Wilmington. Their colors are red, blue, and black with the Hornets as their mascot. Their top majors are Kinesiology, Criminal Justice, Mass Communications, and Management. They have about 6,200 enrolled students and the tuition/room and board is about $39,000 per year. Del State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and has many other accreditations in their nursing program, social work program, education program, business and administration program, law studies, and therapy programs. Some alumni at DSU are Clifford Brown, Emanuel Davis, Wayne Gilcrest, Jamaal Jackson, and SZA.


#9 Claflin University

Claflin University, located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, comes in at number 8 on the list, founded in 1869. In 1872, a mechanical and agricultural base was built, but unfortunately, one of their campuses burned down in 1876. Claflin is a liberal arts college with affiliation with the United Methodist Church. They have about 2,000 undergrad and the cost of tuition/room and board is about $30,000. Their top majors are Biology, Sociology, and Registered Nursing. They have a pretty successful ROTC program with a cross enrollment with South Carolina State University. There are 8 HBCUs in South Carolina, which could be difficult to differentiate. This is what makes Clafin special, it was the first HBCU in South Carolina. Their colors are maroon and orange and their mascot is the panthers. Some alumni are Gloria Blackwell, Cecil J. Williams, and Marvin Philips.

#10 North Carolina A&T State University

North Carolina A&T, aka NCAT, is the final HBCU on this top 10 list. Located in Greensborough, North Carolina, home of the bulldogs, NCAT happens to be a very popular HBCU. They have about 11,400 undergrad and costs about $40,000 in tuition/ room and board. NCAT was founded in 1891 and used to be an all male school. The school became coed in 1928 and hadn;t even developed a name until 1957, “Agricultural and Technical College of North Carolina”. The college developed the name, “North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University” 10 years later in 1967. NCAT just recently became apart of the University of North Carolina System. NCAT’s history is rather relevant and what really sticks out for them is their sport division. NCAT has won 7 titles of HBCU National Champion in football. Their athletics have entered the Big South athletic conference in 2021 and joined the Coastal Athletic Association(CAA). NCAT is the largest HBCU. NCAT is a very well off and popular school, always making sure to show their “Aggie Pride”. Some alumni are Taraji P. Henson, Terrence J., Jesse Jackson Jr., Curtis Deloatch, and Maurice Hicks.

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