Founded on or before 1964, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established after the Civil War when southern states still practiced segregation schools. The following HBCUs have provided places for freed salves to earn a quality education, and today advances student success.
For more than 140 years, HBCUs have nurtured, provided, and served academic excellence to low-income, first generation, and academically underprepared and under-resourced students. HBCUs continue to thrive in its mission to turning students into living testimonies.
According to UNCF’s ‘Six Reasons HBCUs Are More Important Than Ever’, the nation’s 101 HBCUs make up just 3 percent of America’s colleges and universities, yet the institutions produce almost 20 percent of all African American graduates and 25 percent of African American graduates in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – which are the critical industries of the future. Also, HBCUs tuition rates are on average almost 20 percent less than at comparable institutions.
Smaller institutions are evaluated for being the most affordable for students with enrollment of less than 1,500 and tuition totaling less than $15,000 per year. These institutions are also student-centered which seeks to fulfill the academic needs and performances of every student enrolled and fostered academic preparation while providing high-quality educational opportunities for diverse populations.
This list provides you the top fifteen private and public HBCUs that are rising in advancing education with smaller class sizes, dedicated faculty, and adding spiritual values to its surrounding community.
Click here to view the 2020 Ten Top Smaller HBCUs That Are Rising.
J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College is the first and only institution of its kind in Alabama. In 1961, Governor George Wallace founded a group of state, two-year technical institutions. To support the technical/vocational career education needs of African Americans. Huntsville State Vocational Technical School was one of these schools.
In 1966, the school changed its name to J.F. Drake State Technical Trade School in honor of the late Joseph Fanning Drake, long-time President of Alabama A&M University. The Alabama State Board of Education granted Drake State Technical College status in 1973 and adjusted its name to J.F. Drake Technical College, allowing the school to offer the Associate in Applied Technology Degree (AAT).
The final steps in establishing the schools identity came in July 2013 when the college officially became J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College.
Students can earn degrees and certificates in 8 different fields. Popular programs include: Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields, Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, and Personal and Culinary Services.
Dr. Patricia Sim was named the fourth president of Drake State in December 2018. Under her leadership, Drake state has transition to becoming the premier training destination for businesses in greater Huntsville. Dr. Sims and Dr. Hugine, President of AAMU signed a MOU on June 17, 2019, that will enable students awarded delayed admission to AAMU to begin their academic tenures at Drake State and earn credential as they prepare to transfer to AAMU. In January 2020, Dr. Sims was named one of The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020 by the HBCU Campaign Fund.
For more information, visit www.drakestate.edu.
Morris College was established in 1908 “for the Christian and Intellectual Training of Negro youth,” under authorization granted by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina in 1906. On April 12, 1911, the college received a certificate of incorporation from the state of South Carolina. Intially, Morris College provided schooling on the elementary, high school, and college levels. The College curriculum included programs in liberal arts, in “normal” education for the certification of teachers, and a theological program. In 1915, the Bachelor of Arts degree was conferred on the first two graduates. The insitution discontinued its “normal” program in 1929, its elementary school in 1930, and its high school in 1946.
During 1930-32, the school operated as a junior college, but it resumed its full four-year program in 1933. The word “Negro” appearing in the orginial certificate of incorporation was eliminated on August 14, 1961, thereby opening the doors at Morris to students of all ethnic groups.
On December 13, 1978, Morris College acehived the goal of full accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. On January 1, 1982, Morris College became the 42nd member of the United Negro College Fund, the nation’s largest and most successful black fund-raising organization. The College has embarked upon a new era of institutional improvements that has moved it further into the mainstream of American higher education and that has enabled it to render even better sevice to its students and to the community.
Dr. Leroy Straggers serves as the tenth president of Morris College and has been a part of the Morris College family for twenty-five years. In January 2021, he was named one of The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2021 by the HBCU Campaign Fund.
For more information, visit www.morris.edu.
Shorter College is a private, faith-based, two-year liberal arts college located in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Founded in 1866 by the African Methodist Espicopal Church. Shorter College is one of the nation’s 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and the only private, two-year HBCU in the nation. With a Fall 2014 enrollment with over 400 students, Shorter College is the fastest growing campus in Central Arkansas.
Shorter College’s open enrollment policy makes obtaining an associate’s level degree possible for any person having earned a high school diapolma or GED completion from an accredited agency. Small, intimate classroom settings and outstanding faculty create an enjoyable and supportive atmosphere for learning that empowers students to excel toward the pursut of academic excellence.
The student-faculty ratio is 16-to-1. Students can earn degrees and certificates in 5 different fields. Popular programs include: Liberal Arts and Sceinces, General Studies and Humanities, Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services, and Philosophy and Religious Studies.
For more information, visit www.shortercollege.edu.
Tougaloo College is a private, coeducational, historically black, four-year liberal arts church related institution. In 1869, the American Missionary Association of New York purchased five hundred acres of land from John Boddie, owner of Boddie plantation to establish a school for the training of young people “irrespective of religious tenets and conducted on the most liberal principles for the benefit of our citizens in general.” The Mississippi State Legislature granted the institution a charter under the name of Tougaloo University. Course of college credit was first offered in 1897, and in 1901, the first bachelor of arts degree was awarded to Traverse S. Crawford in 1916, the name of the institution was changed to Tougaloo College.
Over the years, the College has ranked among the top 25 U.S. institutions whose graduates earn their Ph.Ds in the science and engineering disciplines and among the top historically black colleges and universities in the graduation of females with undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences. The College has historically produces over 40% of the African Americans physicians and dentists, practicing in the state of Mississippi, more than one-third of the state’s African American attorneys and educators including teachers principals, school superintendents, college/university faculty and administrators. The College offers 29 degree programs in the areas of education, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
In March 2019, Dr. Carmen J. Walters was named the 14th President of the College succeeding Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, who served as President since May 2002. Dr. Hogan was the first woman president to lead Tougaloo.
For more information, visit www.tougaloo.edu.
Clinton College was established by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church during the Reconstruction Era to help eradicate illiteracy among freedman slaves. Clinton College is an historically black, private college and the oldest institution of higher learning in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The College has operated continuously for 120 years. In 1894, Presiding Elder Nero A. Crockett and Rev. W.M. Robinson founded Clinton Institute and named it after Bishop Caleb Isom Clinton, the Palmetto Conference Bishop at the time.
In 1020, the College received a three-year Department of Energy Grant for $1.9 million to rest environment development. Two bachelors programs were implemented in Fall 2013, approved by the Transnational Association for Christian Colleges and Schools (TACS). The programs are a bachelor of science in business administration and a bachelor of arts in religion. The College was awarded grant funds that were used to develop courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The College endowment has increased from $89,000 in 2003 and $566,000 in 2013.
In view of the four-year programs, the College’s named was changed from Clinton Junior College to Clinton College. In keeping with its 120-year tradition, the Colleges offers an academic environment that not only promotes intellectual growth, but also fosters positive moral ethical and spiritual values. The College celebrated 125 years of higher education in 2019.
Students can earn degrees and certificates in 5 different fields. Popular programs include: Business Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, and Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies.
The Reverend Dr. Lester Agyei McCorn is the 13th President of the College. An alumnus of Morehouse College, Yale Divinity School and Chicago Theological Seminary, he holds the Doctor of Ministry (D.Min) from United Theological Seminary. He has a 31-year career as a pastor in the A.M.E. Zion Church, including serving in the major cities of Boston, Chicago, Atlanta and Baltimore. He came to Clinton College after serving as the Senior Pastor of the historic Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church in Baltimore, Maryland from 2008 to 2017. Dr. McCorn was named one of The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2019 by the HBCU Campaign Fund.
For more information, visit www.clintoncollege.edu.
Paine College was founded by the leadership of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now United Methodist Church, and the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church. now Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. Paine was the brainchild of Bishop Lucius Henry Holsey, who first expressed the idea for the College in 1869. Bishop Holsey asked leaders in the ME Church South to help establish a school to train Negro teachers and preachers so that they might in turn appropraitely address the educational and spiritual needs of the people newly freed from the evils of slavery. Leaders in the ME Church South agreed, and Paine Institute came into being.
In 1883, a charter of incorporation for The Paine Institute was granted, and the Trustees elected Dr. George Williams Walker as its first teacher. In January 1884, classes began in rented quarters located on Broad Street in downtown Augusta. On December 28, 1884, the Reverend George Williams Walkers was elected President of Paine Institute following the resignation of Reverend Callaway. In 1886, the College moved to its present site on Fifteenth Street.
In June 2017, the Board of Trustees appointed Dr. Jerry L. Hardee to lead the College into a new era. Within nine month of Dr. Hardee’s tenure, the College witnessed over $1.5 million in renovations, revitalized signature fundraising events that were on hiatus, re-activated of Alumni Relations Office and the College’s Bookstore while introducing new publications and offerings to students. Dr. Jerry Hardee served until June 2019.
Dr. Cheryl Evans Jones was named acting President in July 2019 and President in October 2019 at the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees. The College remains a liberal arts, coeducational, church-related school, gratefully related to its founding denominations and open to all.
For more information, visit www.paine.edu.
Fisk University was established as the Fisk School by three men – John Ogden, the Reverend Erastus Milo Cravath, and the Reverend Edward P. Smith in Nashville. The school was named in honor of General Clinton B. Fisk of the Tennessee Freedmen’s Bureau, who provided the new institution with facilities in former Union Army barracks near the present the site of Nashville’s Union Station. In these facilities Fisk convened its first classes on January 9, 1866. The first students ranged in age from seven to seventy, but shared common experiences of slavery and poverty – and an extraordinary thirst for learning.
Ogden, Cravath, and Smith, along with others in their movement, shared a dream of an educational institution that would be open to all, regardless of race, and that would measure itself by “the highest standards, not of Negro education, but of American education at its best.” Their dream was incorporated as Fisk University on August 22, 1867.
In 1930, Fisk became the first African American institution to gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. It was not the first such institution to be placed on the approved lists of the Association of American Universities (1933) and the American Association of University Women (1948). And in February 1978, the Fisk campus was designated as a National Historic District in recognition of its architectural, historic, and cultural significance.
For more information, visit www.fisk.edu.
Stillman College was authorized by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States in 1875, held its first classes in 1876 and was chartered as a legal corporation by the State of Alabama in 1895. At that time, the named was changed from Tuscaloosa Institute to Stillman Institute. In 1948, the name was officially changed to Stillman College. The following year, the College expanded to a four-year and graduated its first baccalaureate class in 1951.
As a small liberal arts institution, Stillman College is committed to fostering academic excellence and providing high quality educational opportunities for diverse populations with disparate levels of academic preparations. Primarily a teaching institution, Stillman has a proud and evolving tradition of preparing students for leadership and service in society. The College is one of the leaders in wireless computing, and has received the National Innovation in Technology Award by Apple Computers, and continues to be on the cusp of technology innovations in higher education.
In 2017, Dr. Cynthia Warrick was appointed as interim president of Stillman College. Later in April, she was named the permanent President facing ongoing financial challenges in the College history. In March, Dr. Warrick is credited for raising $2 million to help cover debt service and operating expenses during the summer and help boost recruiting efforts to draw new students.
In January 2020, Dr. Warrick was named one of The Ten Most Dominant HBCU Leaders of 2020 by the HBCU Campaign Fund, citing her focus on connecting students and the College opportunities that advances academic excellence, degree completion, and admission into graduate and professional schools and fruitful careers.
For more information, visit www.stillman.edu.
Miles College, founded in 1898, is a premier liberal arts institution in Birmingham, Alabama. The noble founders of the institution saw educated leadership as the paramount need in the Black community. The College is the only four-year institution in historic Birmingham designated as a member of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Miles College is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) higher learning institution.
The College offers 28 bachelor degree programs in six academic divisions to an enrollment of approximately 1,500 students. Under the leadership of previous College President George T. French Jr., Miles College purchased a new 41-acres campus adjacent to the existing campus in 2006.
In January 2020, Charles Barkley, former NBA Hall of Fame athlete and philanthropist donated the single largest gift of $1 million to the College. It is the first time in the College’s 122 year history to receive the historic gift. Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston followed with a $55,000 gift to the football program within the same month.
For more information, visit www.miles.edu.
Saint Augustine’s University was chartered as Saint Augustine Normal School and Collegiate Institute on July 19, 1967, by the Reverend J. Brinton Smith. D.D., secretary of the Freedman’s Commission of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and the Right Reverend Thomas Atkinson, D.D., Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina. Bishop Atkinson became the first president of the Board of Trustees and Dr. Smith was the first principal. The new school opened its doors for instruction on January 13, 1868.
In 1893, the School’s name changed from Saint Augustine’s Normal School to Saint Augustine’s School. In 1919, the name changed to Saint Augustine’s Junior College, the first year in which postsecondary instruction was offered. The School became a four-year institution in 1927. In 1928, the institution was renamed Saint Augustine’s College. Baccalaureate degrees were first awarded in 1931.
The College further extended its mission by establishing St. Anges Hospital and Training School for Nurses to provide medical care for and by African Americans. It was the first nursing school in the state of North Carolina for African Americans students, and served as the only hospital to served African Americans until 1960. On August 1, 2012, Saint Augustine’s College transitioned in name and status to Saint Augustine’s University.
For more information, visit www.st-aug.edu.
Bennett College, in 1873, has its beginning in the unplastered basement of the Warnersville Methodist Episcopal Church (now known as St. Matthews United Methodist Church). Seventy young men and women started elementary and secondary level studies. In 1874, the Freedmen’s Aid Society took over the school which remained under it auspices for 50 years.
Within five years of 1873, a group of emancipated slaves purchased the present site for the school. College level courses and permanent facilities were added. In 1926, The Women’s Home Missionary Society joined the Board of Education of the Church to make Bennett College in Greensboro, NC, formerly co-educational, a college for women. It is one of two historically black colleges that enroll only women.
Since 1930, Bennett has graduated more than 7,000 students, affectionately known as “Bennett Belles”. The College offers 24 academic degree programs, and has give dual degree programs.
For more information, visit www.bennett.edu.
Morris Brown College was founded in 1881 by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and is a private, coeducational, liberal arts college engaged in teaching and public service with special focus in leadership, management, entrepreneurship and technology. On October 15, 1885, just 20 years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, 107 students and 9 teachers walked into a crude wooden structure at the corner of Boulevard and Houston Streets in Atlanta, Georgia, making the opening of the first educational institution in Georgia under sole African American patronage. That institution was Morris Brown College, named to honor the memory of the second consecrated Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
In May 1885, the State of Georgia granted the charter to Morris Brown College. Under the leadership of President Dr. Kevin James, the College recently settled $4 million debt with the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The National Park Service also awarded the College a $500,000 grant toward the renovation of Foundation Hall. The College aims towards restoring and regaining its accreditation. In November 2020, the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) approved the College’s accreditation application, with candidacy consideration to announced April 2021. Enrollment has increased to 47 student taking classes on-campus and online.
For more information, visit www.morrisbrown.edu.
Edward Waters College (EWC) is, distinctively, Florida’s oldest independent institution of higher learning as well as the state’s first institution established for the education of African Americans.
EWC began as an institution founded by Blacks, for Blacks. In 1865, following the Civil War the Reverend Charles H. Pearce, a presiding elder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, was sent to Florida by Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne. The school, established in 1866, was to eventually evolved into Edward Waters College. Construction of the first building began in October 1872 on ten acres of land in Live Oak. In 1892 the school’s named was changed to Edward Waters College in honor of the third Bishop of the AME Church
Known as the youngest president of an HBCU in the nation, Dr. A. Zachary Faison Jr., was named the 30th President & CEO of the College in 2018. Faison was featured in DIVERSE Issue in Higher Education article, “Young HBCU Leaders Look to Carry the Torch”. His vision for the College aims to implement and enhance EWC through a new honor college (already launched), launch of new online degree programs in the field of social work, computer and information science, and forensic science, and the development of the college’s first MBA program. The College has also improved their athletics with the return of football, and its reveal of new transportation buses through a partnership with Kelly Tours, Inc., valued at $100,000.
The College completed construction for a new Community Football Field and Stadium, which is the campus home of the football team. And recently, unveiled a new Student Residential Facility. Faison was honored to Jacksonville Business Journal’s “40 Under 40”.
For more information, visit www.ewc.edu.
Talladega College was founded by two former slaves, William Savery and Tomas Tarrant, both of Talladega, met in convention with a group of freedman in Mobile, Alabama. From this meeting came the commitment: “…We regard the education of our children and youths as vital to the preservation of our liberties, and true religion at the foundation of all real virtue, and shall use our utmost endeavors to promote these blessings in our common country.”
In 1869, Swayne School was issued a charter as Talladega College by the Judge of Probate of Talladega County. Twenty years later, in 1889, the Alabama State Legislatrue exempted properties of the college from taxation. Swayne Hall has remained in service as the symbol and spirit of the beginning of the college. Foster Hall, erected for girls and teachers in 1869, was the first building added after the college was chartered. Stone Hall, for boys and teachers, was built the next year. Other building were added over the school’s first hundred years.
The training of leaders in education was the first and has been a continuing interest of the institution. The first courses offered above elementary grades were normal course for teachers. An outline for collegiate level course work first appeared in the catalog for the years 1890. In 1895 the first class graduated with the bachelor’s degree.
The College enjoyed record-high enrollment in the 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021 academic years. Talladega College now has over 1300 students and is listed among the Princeton Review’s best colleges in the Southeast. Talladega earned ranking in three U.S. News and World Report categories in 2021 – Top Performers on Social Mobility, Liberal Arts Colleges, and HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). The College recently launched its first-ever graduate program, an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems.
Dr. Billy C. Hawkins became the 20th president of Talladega College in 2018. He serves on the U.S. President’s Board of Advisors on HBCUs and also as chair of the 37 president of member institutions of the UNCF. In addition, he was appointed by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to serve on the Alabama Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council. He is the first African American to chair the Alabama Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, the author of two books, and a member of the Talladega Rotary Club, the Delta Upsilon Boule and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He was ranked first place among The Ten Most Dominant HBCU leaders of 2020 by the HBCU Campaign Fund. He is also a recipient of numerous other awards, including the Vanguard Award from the Higher Education Leadership Foundation (HELF), the Coloenl Leo Thorsness Courage Award, the Ferris State Distinguished Alumni Award, the Kent Hall of Fame, the Presidential Service Award from the HBCU Title III Administrators, Inc., the Distinguished Service Award to the Nation’s HBCUs, Alabama’s Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc’s Graduate Citizen of the Year Award, and the Theta Tau Chapter’s Citizenship Award.
For more information, visit www.talladega.edu.
Paul Quinn College is a private, faith-based, four-year liberal art College that was founded in 1872 by a group of African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers in Austin, Texas as Correctional High School and Institute. In May 1881, the College was chartered by the state of Texas and changed its name to Paul Quinn College to commemorate the contribute the contributions of Bishop William Paul Quinn. The College relocated to Southwest Dallas, Texas in 1990.
Since the appointment of Michael J. Sorrell, a former member of the Board of Trustees, as president, the College has raised academic standards and embarked on an ambitious revitalization of the campus, which has included spending over $4 million in capital improvements. The College has produced more than $2 million in budget surpluses in fiscal year 2009, 2010, and 2011; achieved unqualified audits for 2009 and 2010. Invested more than $4 million in infrastructure improvements and formed a groundbreaking partnership with Pepsico to convert an unused football stadium into a fully operational urban farmed.
In 2011, the College received membership into the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and School (TRACS). In 2017, the College became the first HBCU to be named a “Work College” by the U.S. Department of Education. Paul Quinn is the ninth federally funded work college in the United States, the first Minority-Serving Institution (MSIs) in the Work College Consortium, and the first work college in Texas.
For more information, visit www.pqc.edu.
About the HBCU Campaign Fund
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) was founded in 2021 and is a non-profit educational advocacy organization that remains a strong advocate for students and higher education. The mission of HCF is to support the significance and raise funds for scholarships, programs, and private and public HBCUs and MSIs.
Sign up for our newsletter today.
Stay up-to-date with HBCUs!
Sign up to receive exciting news and updates on students, HBCUs and the HBCU Campaign Fund delivered to your inbox.
HBCU Campaign Fund
12558 S. Princeton Ave
Chicago, IL 60628-7225
Please contact us:
We are open Monday to Friday, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.