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.


Students Speak! Understanding the Value of HBCUs From Student Perspectives

Students Speak! Understanding the Value of HBCUs From Student Perspectives

This report, partly made possible through a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, highlights students' perspectives on their experiences on historically black colleges and universities.  

Student Perspectives on HBCUs

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.