For Black History Month, a primer on historically black colleges and universities

In honor of Black History Month, HISD is highlighting historically black colleges and universities.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines an HBCU as “… any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.”

HBCUs are, however, open to all students, regardless of race. There are more than 200 HBCUs, and the list can be found here.  

U.S. News compared these HBCUs and ranked them accordingly.

The top HBCU, and the oldest, is Spelman College in Atlanta, which was founded in 1881 as Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. Located near downtown, Spelman is part of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, which includes Clark Atlanta UniversityMorehouse College, and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Howard University is ranked number two. It is located in Washington, D.C., and was founded in 1867. Howard offers both undergraduate and graduate programs. Notable alumni include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, and Emmy Award-winning actress Phylicia Rashad, who is a graduate of HISD’s Yates High School.

Morehouse College in Atlanta is number three. It is the only four-year liberal arts institution that is all male. Founded in 1867 as well, Morehouse has a National Fellowships and Awards Committee to help students apply for financial aid. The university attracts powerful speakers, including Barack Obama and Joe Lewis.

The next seven listed are, in order, Xavier University of LouisianaFlorida A&M UniversityTuskegee UniversityNorth Carolina A&T State UniversityClaflin UniversityFisk University , and Dillard University.