Best historically black colleges and universities in the United States

Submitted by seeta.bhardwa@… on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 13:03

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are a unique feature of the higher education landscape in the US. They are found mostly in the Southern States.

HBCUs were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide higher education for the African American community. This was because, before 1964, African Americans were not permitted to study in the majority of schools. 

Today, while the students attending HCBUs are predominantly African American, diversity in student bodies has increased over time, with white, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American students making up a fifth of the population at HBCUs. 

Many HBCUs are private liberal arts universities.

Here is a rundown of all the best HBCUs based on data collected for the THE/WSJ US College Rankings 2021

1. Howard University

Howard University is a private co-educational college in Washington DC. It is categorised by the Carnegie Foundation as a research university with high research activity. It is a national leader in studying health disparities among ethnic minorities.

It is particularly well known for the STEM subjects and is seen as a top producer of African American graduates who go on to earn science and engineering doctorates.

Alumni include writer and MacArthur fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates; Kamala Harris, the first African American and first Indian American vice-president of the United States; actor and author Taraji P. Henson; and Nobel- and Pulitzer-winning author Toni Morrison. 

2. Spelman College

Spelman College is a private women’s liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia.

Many prominent women have attended Spelman, including Pulitzer prizewinner Alice Walker; the first African American COO of Starbucks and CEO of Sam’s Club, Rosalind Brewer; former dean of Harvard College Evelynn M. Hammonds; and musician, activist and historian Bernice Johnson Reagon.

The Spelman College Museum of Fine Art is dedicated to art by and about women of the African diaspora.

Students at the institution come from 43 US states and 10 countries.


Best public universities in the United States
Best liberal arts colleges in the United States
Best private universities in the United States


3. Xavier University of Louisiana

Xavier University of Louisiana is the only historically black Catholic institution of higher education in the US.

It was established in 1925 in New Orleans.

The campus is sometimes called the “Emerald City” because many of the buildings have green roofs. These include the Library Resources Center, the Living Learning Center and Katharine Drexel Hall, which is named after the American heiress, philanthropist, religious sister and educator who was canonised in 2000.


Best historically black colleges and universities in the United States 2021

HBCU Rank 2021 US College Rank 2021 University City State
1 =127 Howard University Washington DC
2 138 Spelman College Atlanta Georgia
3 =358 Xavier University  New Orleans Louisiana
=4 401-500 Hampton University Hampton Virginia
=4 401-500 Morehouse College Atlanta Georgia
=4 401-500 Tuskegee University Tuskegee Alabama
=7  > 600 Clark Atlanta University Atlanta Georgia
=7  > 600 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee Florida
=7  > 600 North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University Greensboro North Carolina
=7  > 600 North Carolina Central University Durham North Carolina
=7  > 600 Southern University and A&M College Baton Rouge Louisiana

Read more: Required Reading: what is a historically black college?

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Explore the best historically black colleges and universities in the United States based on data collected by Times Higher Education and the Wall Street Journal

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