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What Are Historically Black Colleges and Universities?

HBCU stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Learn a little more about these important schools here!

Joan Isaac MohrJoan Isaac Mohr
Vice President and Dean of Admissions

Quinnipiac University
A Historically Black College or University (HBCU) is an institution established before the 1964 Civil Rights Act with the mission of serving the Black community, who were not allowed in White colleges at the time. There are currently 99 HBCUs within 19 states across the US. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, over 278,000 students were enrolled in HBCUs as of 2021. They can be either two-year community colleges or four-year colleges or universities. Some schools are public (50) and some are private (49).  Black students make up the majority of HBCU enrollment—as well as account for a large portion of Black student enrollment across all institutions—but in the present day, roughly 25% of students at these colleges are non-Black. You can learn more by searching the web and viewing the specific list of institutions.

HBCUs are a major cornerstone of Black education in America. These colleges and universities paved the way for some great Black figures in US history who otherwise might not have been able to attain a college degree, and they continue to pave the way for thousands of Black students and students of other racial identities to carve their own way to success. Examples of well-known HBCUs include:

HBCUs are often known for excellent student support services; high student retention rates; strong policies and efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion; high graduation and career placement rates; post-college alumni success; and more. When it comes to making a positive cultural and economic impact on college students of color, Historically Black Colleges and Universities are the crown jewels of the higher education landscape. 

You can learn more about HBCUs—including the schools mentioned above—on CollegeXpress by reading our Spotlight on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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