Why Choose an HBCU?
By Lee Williams
There’s college. Then there’s the HBCU experience. Historically black colleges and universities — commonly known as “HBCUs” — are authentic environments where black, indigenous people of color are welcomed and empowered.
Paired with rich cultural traditions and genuine fellowship, attending one of these storied institutions provides an undeniable sense of belonging and community — all components necessary to thrive as you pursue a top-rate education.
But you might be wondering, “What’s in it for me?”
Whether you’re looking to attend an HBCU on-campus or online, we break down some of the very best reasons to attend a traditionally black college or university.
But first: What are HBCUs?
Organized post the Civil War, historically black colleges and universities were established with a singular goal in mind: to offer Black Americans an opportunity for a fair higher education experience.
Today, these institutions still adhere to the values that they were established on yet have expanded their purpose to serve indigenous populations and people of color both domestically and internationally.
Community, career, and fulfillment: HBCUs just do it better
At a predominantly white institution (PWI), you’re just a student. At an HBCU, you’re family.
According to research by the United Negro College Fund, HBCU students report having a “better educational experience” than their counterparts at PWIs.
The best HBCUs are renowned for their supportive community and rich environment; there’s kinship at every turn, from the student and civic organizations to marching band and athletics, and more.
As a student, you can enjoy a genuine connection with students, faculty, and administration from similar backgrounds and cultures. Online and on-campus classrooms tend to be smaller with a 15 to 1 student to faculty ratio, which elevates learning opportunity and engagement.
There’s also greater career and personal fulfillment. A Gallup study found that black HBCU graduates are more likely to be “thriving in purpose and financial well-being” than black graduates who graduated from PWIs or other non-HBCUs.
Further, HBCUs are also known for their well-connected, engaged alumni base, helping students connect to a career post-graduation.
Expect true diversity and inclusion
We’ve all been there in our jobs or classes: the lone black or brown person in the room may be asked to be the spokesperson on black issues or subject to daily microaggressions.
Not at an HBCU. Here, among the 101 traditional black colleges that we’ve researched, you can expect true diversity — and not just African American students. HBCUs are Hispanic-serving institutions too. They also educate students from different countries, cultures, races, and ethnicities.
At an HBCU, diversity isn’t a quota or empty symbolism; you’ll experience greater cultural immersion through your peers and studies.
At an HBCU, diversity isn’t a quota or empty symbolism; you’ll experience greater cultural immersion through your peers and studies. You can also learn beyond the Eurocentric perspective of the world so prevalent at most PWIs in favor of a broader perspective of the Black Diaspora and how it’s impacted the world.
The result is an environment where you’re empowered to be the best version of yourself through a community that understands you.
That means no code-switching. No microaggressions. No hiding who you are.
Join a tradition of black excellence
Students at traditionally black colleges and universities follow in the footsteps of Black activists, artists, athletes, corporate leaders, and innovators who’ve made a positive mark on society.
Broadly speaking, HBCUs are responsible for:
- 85% of all Black doctors
- 80% of all Black federal judges
- 75% of all Black Ph. Ds
- 75% of all Black military officers
- 75% of all Black veterinarians
- 50% of all Black pharmacists
- 50% of all Black attorneys
- 46% of all Black business executives
- 40% of all Black dentists
The United Negro College Fund also found that HBCU graduates enter more prominent roles, enjoy stronger economic benefits, and are “more prepared for life and more likely to be engaged at work” than black graduates of non-HBCUs.
Pay less tuition, earn more ROI
Need help affording college? Come to an HBCU.
On average, the cost to attend one of these schools is nearly 30% lower than the average total costs at all four-year non-profit colleges. Online degrees are even better, with, on average, tuition rates up to 50% less than for-profit online institutions.
HBCU graduates also enjoy 50% more upward mobility than their black PWI counterparts and can expect to earn $927,000 in additional income over their working life.
It’s a level of affordability and educational-professional gain that makes HBCUs the best purchase for your dollar.
HBCUs are also amazing for local and regional economies, where they generate more than 134,090 jobs.
Learn at the center of the black experience. Choose your HBCU.
College is important to you. And selecting where to go to school can be one of the most challenging decisions of your life. We’re here to find the best HBCU for you.
With FindMyHBCU, you can take the scenic route to your degree. Use our advanced search tool to browse over 101 historically black colleges and universities and more than 5,800 online and on-campus degree programs right now.