Two Black women, Black man in yellow sitting at class desk with papers, laptop

10 Powerful Advantages of Attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities

HBCUs are rich in history, culture, and academic excellence. If you need more convincing, here are 10 advantages for students considering these schools.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are schools that were founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to a college education. More specifically, the Higher Education Act of 1965 defines an HBCU as “any Historically Black College or University that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of Black Americans.” There are more than 100 HBCUs in the United States, including public and private institutions and law and medical schools. If you’re considering adding an HBCU to your college list, here’s a look at just a few of the reasons these schools are incredible institutions of higher education.

1. First-rate education

Some of the best academic colleges and universities in the country are HBCUs. Schools such as Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College have a long and illustrious history of offering African American students a world-class education. Today, that education extends beyond the Black community to people of all cultures, bringing Black history and values to a wide range of students. 

Related: Spotlight on Historically Black Colleges and Universities

2. Caring professors and faculty

The top-notch education you’ll find at an HBCU is delivered by a host of accomplished and caring professors and faculty. Case in point: Dr. Fred  A. Bonner II, a prominent scholar whose research focuses on African American males, formerly worked at Rutgers University and left to accept a position at Prairie View A&M, where he continued his work on initiatives such as the HBCU Deans Think-Tank and the Black Male Summit. HBCUs hire faculty who match the values of the schools they work at—values built upon the important history of the colleges. 

3. Classes and extracurricular activities tailored to Black culture

Many HBCUs offer classes and extracurricular activities that can be harder to come by at other Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). Students often find that the courses offered at an HBCU give them a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore Black culture, African American history, and the Black experience in the past and present. These opportunities help Black students feel seen and valued while also providing non-Black students a better understanding of Black history to help everyone work toward a better world that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

4. A supportive atmosphere

At an HBCU, you’ll find people who come from similar backgrounds and circumstances and who have had similar cultural experiences, but you'll also find people with very different experiences who will help broaden your worldview. There’s an atmosphere of community and collaboration among the student body, and professors and faculty will be there to help nurture and guide you throughout your college education.

Related: How Students Can Find Supportive Mentors in College

5. Diversity

HBCUs do primarily serve Black students, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to have a limited cultural experience. On the contrary, people from all over the world come to the United States to attend HBCUs, which results in diverse student bodies and showcases the dedication students of other cultures have to respect, value, and support Black history and communities.

6. Empowerment

As previously mentioned, HBCUs were established specifically with the goal of increasing African Americans’ access to a college education, so students attending these schools can and should feel empowered by the fact that they’re actively defending and taking advantage of their rights. These colleges are built upon the desire to see students succeed wherever their path takes them in life, and that's exactly how you'll feel if you attend one of these schools. 

7. A chance to continue the legacy

If your parents, grandparents, and/or other family members attended an HBCU and you decide to follow suit, you can take pride in the fact that you’re continuing an important legacy. Of course, that shouldn’t be the only factor that plays into where you decide to attend college, but if you do end up at a loved one’s alma mater, you'll be taking part in a meaningful family tradition. Not to mention, attending an HBCU helps that school stay open and gain the notoriety it deserves as a quality institution of higher learning. 

Related: Top 10 Historically Black Colleges 

8. Alumni associations for graduates of all HBCUs

Though most schools have their own individual alumni associations, there are also several country-wide or regional alumni associations that graduates of any HBCU can join, such as the National HBCU Alumni Association, the DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance, and the Atlanta HBCU Alumni Alliance, just to name a few. Such organizations can give you valuable networking opportunities throughout your career while offering the advantage of alumni benefits offered specifically at your school.

9. Scholarships and grants

If college costs are a concern for you, you’ll be happy to hear that there are many scholarships and grants available for Black students in general and for students attending HBCUs in particular. Use important search terms like "HBCUs," "Historically Black Colleges," "Black students," and more when looking for awards to ensure you're finding the right opportunities for you. 

10. You’ll be in good company

There are some big names in Hollywood, publishing, the religious community, and more who have graduated from HBCUs and gone on to incredibly successful careers. Here are just a few famous folks who attended these schools:

Related: Where Your Favorite Actors Earned Their College Degrees

Historically Black Colleges and Universities are institutions of academic excellence with long histories of producing successful Black graduates—and in more recent years, graduates of all cultures. Attending an HBCU is sure to provide you with a welcoming, academically rigorous, and energetic atmosphere built on strong values and the desire to see students flourish. If you’re thinking about applying to some of these schools, you’ve made a good choice for your future.

Interested in learning more about Historically Black Colleges and Universities? Here’s a complete list of HBCUs to start exploring your options and all they have to offer!

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About CollegeXpress


Welcome to CollegeXpress, your one-stop college shop! We’re a free college planning website used by millions of college-bound students, parents, and counselors—anyone who needs help navigating the college search and application process, financial aid opportunities, and more. You’ll find comprehensive College Search and Scholarship Search tools, tons of articles and expert advice, unique college Lists & Rankings, and lots of other resources to help make your life easier. Teen Vogue even named us one of the 7 Best College Search Websites! But current college students and recent grads also love CollegeXpress for our Graduate Program Search and endless information on student life, internships, and beyond. We really have something for everyone, no matter where you are in your college journey. Create a free account to start connecting with colleges, winning scholarships, and more!


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Kelly Nogueiro

Kelly Nogueiro


For me, CollegeXpress has given me a valuable tool to use with my students to explore colleges easily beyond objective data. It helps me find colleges for students that fit their needs and wants that aren’t quite so black and white. It's a wealth of knowledge, and the Type-A side of me loves all the lists and the fact that I know they're coming from folks who know what they're talking about. I share it with colleagues and students alike, and it's always well received.

Heather McCarty

Heather McCarty

High School Class of 2020

CollegeXpress has helped me with the college application process. The tips and tricks for important essays were so helpful. I also gained useful knowledge about college life. Even though I’m fully online, CollegeXpress has helped me develop a sense of how college is in person. The experiences from college students that were featured on their Instagram page have shown the good, the bad, and the “secret” life on campus from a reliable perspective. Not to mention, they relieved my feelings of anxiety about the workload. I can now understand how it can be stressful, but it takes self-control and willpower to get assignments completed on time and with quality.

Alexandra Adriano

Alexandra Adriano

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2016

I've used CollegeXpress quite a bit as a senior, particularly for colleges and scholarships, so it's been a very big asset in that respect! I would recommend it to anyone looking to pursue a college education, especially seniors! This scholarship will help me achieve my goals in ways I couldn't have before, and I know that there are opportunities like that for everyone on the website and in the magazines!

Carlie Cadet

Carlie Cadet

High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me learn about an abundance of scholarships available to me and my situation. I was able to do research for colleges in my best interest with your website. I've had multiple colleges email me and offer me multiple scholarships and things of that nature because of this website! Thank you so much for uploading scholarships I didn’t even know existed, even if my life took a huge turn and I wasn’t able to go to college straight out of high school. CollegeXpress helped me a lot in high school to be even more motivated to get into my dream college (which I did, by the way). I'm looking forward to using the materials CollegeXpress has kindly provided me for free to look for scholarships to help pay for college.

Jeannie Borin, MEd

Jeannie Borin, MEd

President and Founder, College Connections

I frequently visit CollegeXpress to answer questions from students and parents. There are countless hot topics in admissions that need to be addressed. I enjoy reading what my colleagues post and gain additional insight from different perspectives.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

North Park University

Chicago, IL

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara, CA

University of Redlands

Redlands, CA

New York University—Abu Dhabi Campus

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates