Why Choose an HBCU

Everyone deserves access to a college education that prepares them for success. That’s the belief shared by the more than 100 historically black colleges and universities in the U.S., a belief you’ll feel in the air when you visit or attend an HBCU.

For most of America’s history, HBCUs have played a critical role in ensuring that African Americans—and students of all races—receive a quality education. And the 37 member HBCUs supported directly by UNCF carry on this proud legacy by offering first-rate educations, unique learning environments and strong alumni support.

You can feel confident recommending a historically black college or university to students who are dreaming of attaining a college degree. All of the nation’s more than 100 HBCUs share the belief that everyone deserves access to a quality education, and for more than 150 years, HBCUs have successfully educated students of color. Controlled comparisons prove that HBCUs outperform non-HBCU institutions in retaining and graduating black students, after accounting for the socioeconomic status and academic preparation of enrolled students.

 Also read: 6 Reasons HBCUs Are More Important Than Ever, by Dr. Michael L. Lomax


Reasons to Choose an HBCU

A Top-Notch Education

  • In 2013, HBCUs generated 25 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields earned by African Americans and awarded 14 percent of all African American engineering degrees.

A Supportive Atmosphere and Community

  • With HBCUs’ special focus, your college experience will be one surrounded by many people with similar backgrounds and cultural experiences. You’ll experience a unique community of support and understanding among faculty and your fellow students.


  • A focus on African American students doesn’t mean a restricted cultural experience. HBCUs and HSIs (Hispanic-serving institutions) educate students of all races, ethnicities and cultures from around the world.


  • In 2013-2014, the average total cost of attendance at all HBCUs was 26 percent lower than the average total cost at all four-year non-profit colleges.

Alumni Support and Networking

  • Most HBCUs and HSIs have strong and active alumni associations that provide you ongoing support and valuable networking opportunities to help you develop your future career.


  • Every year, UNCF provides scholarships to 60,000 students so they can attend HBCUs and other colleges and universities. Apply for a scholarship.

Location, Location, Location

  • You’ve got a wide range of locations from which to choose when attending an HBCU so you can stay close to home—or move across the country. Check out UNCF’s 37 member HBCUs.


  • With a long history of educating African American and Hispanic students (some schools were founded just after the American Civil War), HBCUs offer a unique opportunity for you to be part of our nation’s rich cultural history.

Supportive faculty

  • Faculty members at HBCUs are more likely to use active classroom practices and place a greater importance on personal and social responsibility.



Here are just a few of the HBCU alumni with whom you’ll share the HBCU experience:

  • Rev. Jesse Jackson, North Carolina A&T State University
  • Samuel L. Jackson, Morehouse College
  • Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Morehouse College
  • Toni Morrison, Howard University
  • Dr. Ruth Simmons, Dillard University
  • Wanda Sykes, Hampton University
  • Oprah Winfrey, Tennessee State University

You won’t be a number at an HBCU—but you will be impressed by these numbers:

  • HBCUs generated 25 percent of all bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields for African Americans.
  • HBCUs awarded 14 percent of all African American engineering degrees.
  • HBCU students paid an average total cost of attendance that was 26 percent lower than four-year non-profit colleges.
  • HBCUs graduate the most African Americans seeking doctoral degrees in science and engineering out of all U.S. colleges and universities.