Top 6 Reasons to Attend an HBCU
Last updated March 2, 2023
There are several great reasons to apply to an HBCU. They’re competitive institutions with long histories of academic excellence, societal impact and influential alumni - including Vice President Kamala Harris! Surveys also show Black students feel their time at HBCUs better prepares them for life after graduation than Black students who go to predominantly white institutions. Here are some additional reasons why YOU should consider adding HBCUs to your college list.
HBCUs are smaller higher-ed institutions with close knit communities. Most of them have fewer than 5,000 students, and their small class sizes make it easy to get to know your classmates and form meaningful relationships with your professors. Fewer students means faculty will know your name and are better able to help you achieve success!
Most HBCUs aren’t located in large cities so students are more likely to spend time together outside of class rather than being swept away by the big city lights. This time together - whether it’s by joining a student org or just hanging out after class - helps create strong bonds that last a lifetime. When you mix this family feel with the school pride, you get a college community that has your back, long after you graduate!
Just like at other universities, professors come from all over the world to work at HBCUs. Each of them are proud to work at a historically black college or university, and to help you learn in ways that will help you become part of the next generation of (mostly) Black changemakers.
While the 101 HBCUs only represent three percent of the country's colleges, the academics are distinguished. For example, Hampton University has the largest Proton Therapy facility in the world and Howard University has an internationally acclaimed theater program. HBCUs are also key in increasing diversity within the STEM field, as 25% of Black graduates with STEM degrees come from HBCUs, and Xavier and Howard University medical schools graduate 92% of the country’s Black doctors! While attending an HBCU, you'll learn from some of the best scholars who also care about you as a human being - and what you learn could take you all the way to the White House!
It’s no secret that paying for college isn’t cheap, especially when the average college tuition increased 8% over the past 10 years. Additionally, Black college graduates owe an average of $25,000 more in student loan debt compared to white college graduates. But HBCUs are actively working to address the cost of college and recognizing the effects of the generational wealth gap among Black students, especially those who are low-income or first-generation.
On average, the cost of attending an HBCU is 28% less than attending a predominantly white institution. HBCUs also offer scholarships to fill gaps that financial aid might not be able to cover. For example, Alabama A&M University, Fayetteville State University, and Alabama State University are some of the many HBCUs that offer scholarships or other financial aid assistance that eliminate or reduce out-of-state costs. In addition, scholarships sponsored by organizations like the UNCF and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund also offer partial and full scholarships for students attending an HBCU.
With the lower-on-average tuition costs - in addition to smaller classes, distinguished academics, and a tight-knit community - you may find attending an HBCU as a worthwhile experience.
The Cultural Connection
Most institutions are not made with Black people in mind, while HBCUs are one of the only types of learning institutions where Black people are the majority, and their culture is prioritized. Many students attend HBCUs to make a stronger connection with their heritage as they’re surrounded by people with similar cultural experiences. Students who attend HBCUs experience a unique community of support and understanding with faculty and fellow students, versus the likelihood of being more isolated in predominantly white institutions.
Because HBCUs largely shaped American history in many ways, they proudly teach Black history - a collection of subjects that sadly are often left out at traditionally white institutions. HBCUs aim to position students to be able to fully understand themselves, and be better equipped to navigate a world that’s not built for them. This cultural connection is the top reason why students flock to HBCUs over other schools.
Let’s be honest, there is NOTHING like a homecoming at an HBCU! These reunions bring out alumni from every living generation, and students get to meet them and learn about their college experiences. Imagine if a football game, carnival, club, comedy show, cookout and five of the best concerts you can think of had a baby –that’s an HBCU homecoming!
HBCU Homecomings are so epic that they attract some of the year’s biggest musical artists, like Meg Thee Stallion headlining North Carolina A&T’s homecoming in 2019. This is one example of why their homecomings, in particular, are affectionately called “GHOE”, Greatest Homecoming on Earth.
Historically Black colleges attract many students because of their legacies. HBCUs have educated some of the Black community’s brightest minds and most influential leaders, including Dr. King (Morehouse College), Oprah (Tennessee State) and Vice President Kamala Harris (Howard University). Incoming students hope to become part of the legacies of these schools, and blaze their own trails in their industries and feel that this personalized education and strong sense of community can help them do that.
HBCUs are amazing, and can help transform your education and your life! Want to know more about HBCUs? Text #Hello to 33-55-77!