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What is a HBCU?

Historically black colleges and universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention to provided a haven of opportunities for African American educators, students, and graduates to achieve success, and impact lives throughout the United States and internationally. 

HBCU’s have produced doctors, dentists, lawyers, engineers, teachers, entrepreneurs, politicians, recording artists, actors, professional athletes, veterinarians etc. The first HBCU Cheyney University was established in Pennsylvania during 1837, prior to the 1964 Brown v. Board of Education ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court outlawing the racial segregation of public education facilities. During 1837 and thereafter, establishing HBCUs provided an educational service to the African American community during a time in U.S. history when blacks were forbidden to receive an education. Today HBCUs are still playing a significant role in the education of African American students who are disproportionately impacted by the inability to gain admissions into non-African American institutions of higher learning. HBCUs still hold African American students in high esteem.

How many HBCUs are there and what level of education do they offer?

There are 100 HBCUs in the United States today of which twenty seven offer doctoral programs, fifty two provide graduate degree programs at the Master’s level, eighty three offer a Bachelor’s degree program and thirty eight of these schools offer associate degrees. See list of most HBCUs by name, location, and website information.

What disciplines are offered at HBCUs?

HBCUs are private and public institutions and offer two year, four-year and advanced degrees in every discipline offered by other colleges and universities, ranging from the arts, business, education, journalism and languages to engineering, research, science and math, to law, religious philosophy, and medicine.

How do HBCUs compare to other universities?

If a measurement of an institution is the quality of its product, then HBCUs are at the top among competitors. Since their inception, the HBCUs’ commitment to excellence has furthered the development of African Americans who have become leaders in government, business, education, literature, media, science, the military, law, and many other fields and who continue to serve as role models for all peoples at home and abroad. Famous HBCU alumni include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., scientist George Washington Carver, Texas Senator Barbara Jordan, Nobel Prize writer Toni Morrison, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Ghana President Kwame Nkrumah, astronaut Dr. Ronald McNair, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, American Cancer Society of America president Dr. LaSalle D. Laffall, Jr., Black Enterprise publisher Earl G. Graves, educator Marva Collins, news commentator Ed Bradley, entertainment CEO Sean “P, Diddy” Combs, actor Keenan Ivory Wayans, singer songwriter Lionel Richie, elite athletes Rick Mahorn and Edwin Moses, to name a few.

Do HBCUs admit only African Americans?

HBCUs are among the most diverse colleges and universities in the United States today. According to the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges 2011 edition, many HBCUs have relatively significant percentages of non-African American student populations consisting of Asian, Hispanic, International and white American students.

Why should I consider an HBCU?

In addition to a high quality equality-based education, HBCUs are smaller than many community colleges, allowing close association with professors and other students in a nurturing environment that supports individual achievement with mentoring, role models, networking and positive cultural history.

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