School Spotlight: 7 Non-HBCUs That Support Black Students

In honor of Black History Month, we're shining a spotlight on these seven great colleges that are known for supporting Black students.

by
Senior Assistant Editor & Counselor Communications Coordinator

Originally Posted: Feb 2, 2021
Last Updated: Feb 2, 2021

If you’re looking for amazing, supportive, and inclusive schools in your college search, there are numerous Historically Black Colleges and Universities—or HBCUs—to consider. But there are also many non-HBCU schools around the country that are equally as dedicated to community and making sure Black students succeed. Here’s a spotlight on seven great non-HBCUs schools for students to consider.

1. Agnes Scott College

Established in 1889, Agnes Scott College is a liberal arts college for women affiliated with the Presbyterian Church located in Decatur, Georgia. The College is known for its innovative curriculum and personalized approach to advising and career prep. With 31% of students identifying as Black, this quaint College of just over 1,000 students is a great place for Black students to find their community among other strong women. Students can choose from many learning opportunities such as dual-degree programs, independent study, accelerated study, double majors, and more. 

Clubs and organizations

  • Black Power Book Club
  • Black Ring Radio
  • African Student Association
  • Witkaze Black Student Association

Notable Black alumni

  • April Hathcock: Councilor at Large of the American Library Association, co-chair of NYU Libraries Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, 2018 Library Journal Mover and Shaker award winner. Degrees: BA in Psychology and French (Agnes Scott College), Master of Law in International and Comparative Law and JD (Duke University School of Law), Master of Library and Information Science (University of South Florida).
  • Keri Payne Norris: Chief of Health Policy and Administration at the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Authority, motivational speaker, author. Degrees: BA in Africana Studies (Agnes Scott College), Master of Public Health in Health Administration, Management & Policy (Morehouse School of Medicine), graduate certificate in Gender & Women’s Studies, PhD in Health Promotion, Education & Behavior (University of South Carolina). 

Connect with Agnes Scott!

2. Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a large public university with over 17,000 students, 14% of whom are Black. With downtown Cleveland nearby, few students live on campus, instead opting for the independence of city living. Cleveland State offers 16 NCAA Division I athletic teams, 1,700+ internships at local and worldwide businesses, and more than 200 academic programs. Named after the former director of its Black Studies Program, the Howard A Mims. African American Cultural Center features art, historical exhibits, programs, activities, and more for students to learn about and engage in African history and culture. 

Clubs and organizations

  • Black Law Students Association (Cleveland-Marshall College of Law)
  • LINK Student Association
  • Multicultural Association of Nursing Students
  • Upsilon Delta Mu Multicultural Fraternity 

Notable Black alumni

  • Marcia Fudge: Congresswoman serving on the Committee on House Administration, House Committee on Agriculture, and House Committee on Education and Labor; former mayor of Warrensville Heights Ohio, the first female and first Black person in the role; nominee for position of Secretary of House and Urban Development by President Joseph Biden. Degrees: BA in Business (The Ohio State University), JD (Cleveland-Marshall College of Law).
  • Norris Cole: Two-time NBA championship-winning basketball player for the Miami Heat. Degree: BS in Health Sciences. 

Connect with Cleveland State!

3. Georgia State University

Founded in 1913, Georgia State University in Atlanta is the largest institution on this list. With over 53,000 students—approximately 40% of whom are Black—this state research university is an epicenter for growth and development. Offering unique opportunities for research and hands-on learning through 250+ undergraduate and graduate degrees, Georgia State is a well-respected university with 11 colleges and schools that make supporting Black students a priority.

Clubs and events

  • Barbershop Talks
  • Baldwin Book Club
  • The Social Justice Retreat
  • MLK Day of Service

Notable Black alumni

  • Sonny Emory: Singer, songwriter, drummer, percussionist, adjunct professor for Applied Percussion at GSU, and former member of Earth, Wind & Fire. Degree: BA in Jazz and Classical Music Performance.
  • Amalia Amaki: Artist, art historian, curator, film critic, former professor of Modern & Contemporary Art at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, and former professor of Art History at Spelman College, Morehouse College, Atlanta College of Art, Kennesaw State University, and The University of North Georgia. Degrees: BA in Journalism and Psychology (Georgia State), BA in Photography and Art History (University of New Mexico), MA in Modern European & American Art, PhD in Twentieth-Century American Art & Culture (Emory University). 

Connect with Georgia State! 

4. Hiram College

Hiram College was founded in 1850 as a private, residential liberal arts college just southeast of Cleveland in Hiram, Ohio. With just over 1,200-students—and 13% identifying as Black—Hiram is a great choice for students looking for a tight-knit community to call home. The College offers a distinctive term structure, providing students the opportunity to complete intensive studies at the end of every semester. Hiram offers nearly every student financial aid to make their education not only worthwhile but financially sound. 

Organizations and events

  • Black Student Union
  • Intercultural Forum
  • Black History Month events

Notable Black alumni

  • Bill White: Former MLB first baseman for the San Francisco Giants (1956, 1958), the St. Louis Cardinals (1959–1965, 1969), and the Philadelphia Phillies (1966–1968); former president of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (aka National League or NL); former sportscaster for the New York Yankees television and radio broadcasts. Degree: Non-degree alumnus.
  • Claude Mason Steele: Social psychologist, emeritus professor at Stanford University, former Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost at University of California, Berkeley. Degrees: BA in Psychology (Hiram College), MA and PhD in Social Psychology (The Ohio State University).

Connect with Hiram College!

5. Houston Baptist University

Grounded in the Baptist faith as a staple of the Houston community, Houston Baptist University is a smaller university of just over 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students, roughly 24% whom are Black. Founded in 1960, the school is known for its popular Nursing, Biology, and Psychology programs. Students can take advantage of the University’s Honors College opportunities and find ways to deepen their faith through learning and community.

Organizations and events

  • African Student Association
  • Black Student Union
  • International Week 

Notable Black alumni

  • Van G Garrett: Published poet, novelist, teacher, photographer, and professor at the University of Houston. Degrees: BA in Mass Media and English (Houston Baptist University), MA in Interdisciplinary Studies (University of Houston–Victoria).
  • Chanda Dancy: Film composer, violinist, keyboardist, singer, founder and President of CYD Music, and member of rock band Modern Time Machines. Attended Houston Baptist University, Thornton School of Music, and the University of Southern California.

Connect with Houston Baptist!

6. Mercer University

Mercer University is the oldest school on this list, founded in 1833 in Macon, Georgia. Since its inception, Mercer has been dedicated to challenging students and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. With roughly 28% of its 8,700+ undergraduate and graduates students identifying as Black, Mercer is sure to offer the inclusive community students are seeking in the heart of Georgia. The University is made up of 12 schools and colleges, giving students the flexibility to study just about anything. 

Clubs and organizations

  • African Student Association
  • The National Society of Black Engineers
  • Mercer Association of Black Journalists
  • Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
  • Organization of Black Students
  • Women of Minorities Empowering the Neighborhood (W.O.M.E.N.)

Notable Black alumni

  • Sam Mitchell: Former professional basketball player for the Minnesota Timberwolves, former coach of the Toronto Raptors—winning Coach of the Year in 2007. Degree: Non-degree alumnus.
  • Kyle Lewis: Professional MLB player for the Seattle Mariners; Baseball America’s 2016 College Player of the Year, winner of the 2016 Golden Spikes Award, named an All-American player and the 2020 American League Rookie of the Year. Degree: Non-degree alumnus. 

Connect with Mercer!

7. Wayne State University

Wayne State University in the heart of Detroit, Michigan, is a large public university with nearly 27,000 students—15% of whom are Black. With over 500 student clubs and more than 6,400 annual campus events, there’s never a dull moment at Wayne State. Founded in 1868, the University offers majors in just about every field as well as co-op programs, accelerated and independent study, pre-professional programs, and much more for students to find success in any passion they pursue. 

Clubs and organizations

  • African American Psychology Student Organization
  • Black Butterfly Association
  • Black Medical Association
  • Black Student Union
  • Inclusivity, Diversity, and Equity in Action (IDEA) at WSU
  • National Association of Black Accountants
  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • Queer Trans* People of Color
  • Wayne African Student Society

Notable Black alumni

  • Ernie Hudson: Television and movie actor known for his roles in Ghostbusters, The Crow, and HBO’s Oz. Degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts (Wayne State University), non-degree alumnus of doctoral program at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
  • Tim Meadows: Actor and comedian, known as one of the longest-running cast members on Saturday Night Live and for his roles on ABC’s Schooled and The Goldbergs as well as movies like Mean Girls. Degrees: Non-degree alumnus.

Connect with Wayne State! 

We hope you learned something new about an awesome school you may have never heard of before (or maybe even one you have)! There are a lot more schools on our Lists & Rankings that are known for supporting their students, so check them out while you’re conducting your college search. Good luck in finding your perfect-fit school, and Happy Black History Month!

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