Most institutions of higher education have their own stories and histories which sets them apart from other schools, but few schools match the cultural richness found on the campuses of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). HBCUs represent some of the longest-running institutions in the United States, dating back as far as 1837, and have used their longevity to hone their academic practices. However, with more than 100 HBCUs that are still operating throughout the country, it can be difficult to select a program that will get you the most bang for your buck. To help, we calculated and compiled 2018’s list of HBCUs with the highest return on investment.
The following list was assembled using a methodology focused on comparing overall salary differences between, based on a 50-year period, for students graduating from different programs and at different levels. Explore 2018’s top HBCUs with the highest ROI below.
|number||University||Cost||Graduation Rate||Location||University Information|
|1||Howard University||COST (iCost is the annual amount (tuition and fees) that a student pays to attend an institution after subtracting financial aid.)$$$$$||$46,800||Washington, DC|
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Howard University was established in 1867 and educates students at the bachelor and graduate levels. Students will have the opportunity to select from 120 academic emphases, separated into 13 specialized schools and colleges. One of the primary goals held by Howard University has been to provide equal educational rights to all potential students, particularly those who come from a marginalized background. With this comes providing all necessary academic support that has been proven to facilitate student success, including financial assistance, student counseling, and academic advisement. Howard University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
|2||Bowie State University||COST (iCost is the annual amount (tuition and fees) that a student pays to attend an institution after subtracting financial aid.)$$$$$||$46,400||Bowie, MD|
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Bowie State University has long been counted as one of the highest quality historically black universities in the United States. Initially established in 1865, Bowie has provided an inclusive academic environment that has led countless young learners to achieve their goals. Students travel over the world to attend Bowie State, which currently represents 21 countries of origin. Bowie State students are able to select from 22 emphases at the undergraduate level, and alumni have the option to pursue graduate level learning at either the master’s or doctoral level. Learning at Bowie State is made affordable through a variety of merit- and need-based financial coverage options.
|3||Xavier University of Louisiana||COST (iCost is the annual amount (tuition and fees) that a student pays to attend an institution after subtracting financial aid.)$$$$$||$47,900||New Orleans, LA|
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Students attending Xavier University of Louisiana will not only have access to quality higher education opportunities, but will also become part of the rich culture that characterizes this Catholic and historically black institution. XULA provides its students with all necessary academic accommodations to ensure they will be successful in their pursuits, including one-on-one tutoring, academic advising, and financial aid. In addition to the twenty-plus undergraduate majors offered at XULA, students will also have the option to pursue certificate programs, pre-professional learning, and a wide variety of minors. Online learning options are also available for students interested in completing their coursework off campus.
|4||Spelman College||$46,800||Atlanta, GA|
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Originally named the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary, Spelman College is now one of the leading educational institutions specifically catering to women of African descent. Spelman boasts an average graduation rate of 76 percent, and represents 41 states and 15 countries from around the world. Spelman students select from a list of 31 undergraduate majors, each of which is taught by highly trained faculty with several years of experience in their respective fields. Students may also consider studying abroad at one of Spelman’s partnering institutions around the world, which are found in more than 40 different countries.
|5||Morehouse College||$42,500||Atlanta, GA|
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With more graduated black male students than any other college, Morehouse College has proven many times over its competency in preparing young learners for successful and fulfilling lives and careers. As a liberal arts college, Morehouse seeks to prepare the young men in attendance for leadership roles that are characterized by the pursuit of truth and self-realization. More than 20 undergraduate emphases are provided at Morehouse, all of which have been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Morehouse also accepts transferrable credit from outside institutions to help ensure students are not repeating any coursework they have previously completed.
|6||Morgan State University||$39,200||Baltimore, MD|
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Morgan State University was established more than 150 years ago with the goal of providing high quality educational opportunities to a multiracial body of students. Over 100 programs are offered through Morgan State, ranging from the baccalaureate to the doctoral level, allowing students from all education levels to pursue a program that fits their long-term goals. Morgan provides a wide variety of its courses in an online format, benefiting students with extracurricular obligations that may get in the way of attending in-person courses. Students in good standing may also be eligible for a variety of financial assistance packages, including scholarships, grants, and loans.
|7||Hampton University||$41,700||Hampton, VA|
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As a representative for 49 states and 35 countries and territories throughout the world, Hampton makes inclusion one of the foundational principles on which it builds its academic philosophy. Hampton is a historically black university that seeks to immerse its students in a rich cultural and historical environment, bringing together a community of innovators and leaders. One of the most beneficial qualities of learning at Hampton is in its online learning options, which include a wide variety of emphases ranging from the associate to the doctoral level. Online learners will also have access to all necessary student resources, including tutoring and academic advisement.
|8||University of Maryland Eastern Shore||$36,200||Princess Anne, MD|
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As Maryland’s historically black land grant institution, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore strives to provide its students with a variety of beneficial academic programs to prepare graduates for a successful future. Divided into five schools, UMES provides degree emphases in a variety of fields, ensuring all students in attendance will find a program that fits their goals. Nearly sixty clubs and organizations are hosted on the UMES campus, including special interest groups, Greek life chapters, and honors societies, allowing students to develop a greater sense of community.
|9||University of the District of Columbia||$33,100||Washington, DC|
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The University of the District of Columbia is the only public higher education institution operating out of the D.C. area, providing inclusive educational opportunities to individuals from all backgrounds. Learning at UDC ranges from the associate level to the graduate level, allowing students from a variety of backgrounds to brighten their futures with academic pursuits. Many incoming freshmen attending UDC make use of the comfortable and modern on-campus housing options that have been provided by the school, allowing for greater social integration among their peers. Student may also wish to sign up for one or more of the wide variety of UDC’s on-campus clubs and organizations.
|10||Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University||$35,800||Tallahassee, FL|
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Students throughout the United States and from over 70 different countries travel to Florida so they can utilize the high quality educational services offered at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. FAMU was founded more than 130 years ago and has since been providing its students with a welcoming and culture-rich learning environment. Students who have attended schools other than FAMU may be eligible to apply their previously earned credit to their new degree program, preventing any unnecessary backtracking. Students attending may also choose to expand their worldview by participating in the FAMU study abroad program, which provides applicable college credit through partnering institutions around the world.
|11||Tennessee State University||$34,400||Nashville, TN|
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Located in Nashville, Tennessee State University offers more than 75 academic majors for undergraduate and graduate students to select from. TN State seeks to foster a historically rich and closely knit academic community, providing a variety of integration opportunities for all attending students. Over 100 student organizations—including sports teams, special interest groups, and clubs—are available to any enrolled Tennessee State students. State-of-the-art on-campus housing and dining facilities also allow students to interact with their peers freely. Students interested in distance learning may be eligible to complete a variety of their degree’s required courses without ever being present on the Tennessee State campus.
|12||Coppin State University||$35,000||Baltimore, MD|
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Coppin State University is a historically black university founded in 1900, originally designed to train African-American students to become school teachers at the elementary level. Now, Coppin offers more than sixty academic programs for college-level students, both at the baccalaureate and the graduate level. Attending students can benefit from flexible learning options through Coppin, including online courses, summer and winter courses, and evening courses. The Coppin campus also offers a variety of extracurricular pastimes, including fitness and recreational facilities and on-campus clubs, allowing students create a closely knit academic community of peers.
|13||Delaware State University||$34,300||Dover, DE|
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Originally named the Delaware College for Colored Students, Delaware State University was established in May of 1891 as a land-grant institution catering to black students living in states maintaining segregated learning. Since then it has become one of the most prominent historically black colleges in the state of Delaware, providing undergraduate learning in more than 40 different fields and graduate learning in 16. The majority of DESU faculty members hold the highest terminal degree in the respective field, guaranteeing students will be provided with the highest quality education possible. DESU also allows its students to learn in an online format, making completing a degree a seamless and enjoyable experience.
|14||Southern University and A & M College||$33,800||Baton Rouge, LA|
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As part of the United States’ only system of historically black land-grant schools, Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College makes a point of creating an inclusive multicultural environment that conveys a sense of culture and purpose to its students. Southern University provides four-year baccalaureate learning programs in addition to graduate-level academic options. Students transferring in from a different institution of higher education may be eligible to receive comparable credit for their Southern University degree, allowing students to benefit from their previous experiences. Southern University also allows its students to complete their work in a distance-learning format, increasing scheduling flexibility for their academics.
|15||North Carolina A & T State University||$33,100||Greensboro, NC|
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Originally established as a land-grant university nearly 130 years ago, North Carolina A&T State University boasts award-winning faculty members and a diverse student population, resulting in an atmosphere rich in culture and academic potential. With student’s intellectual and personal development in mind, NC A&T offers a wide variety of academic programs, each characterized by a balanced curriculum of hands-on courses and theoretical learning. Students can further integrate with their academic community by living in one of the NC A&T residence halls, each updated with all necessary modern amenities. Several popular restaurants and coffee shops are also hosted on the NC A&T campus.
|16||Lincoln University||$33,300||Lincoln University, PA|
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Lincoln University was established in 1854 as the first degree-granting historically black college and university in the United States. Today Lincoln is accredited through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and hosts just of 2,000 undergraduate learners. The small class sizes at Lincoln—most at 39 students or fewer—allow for a more personalized academic experience characterized by one-on-one interaction with highly trained faculty members. Lincoln is also the home to several intramural and club teams for a variety of sports, including football, basketball, and softball. Students may also get to better know their peers by joining one of the wide variety of student organizations, clubs, and Greek life chapters.
|17||Norfolk State University||$33,200||Norfolk, VA|
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Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Norfolk State University specially designs its academic programs to facilitate a student’s seamless progression through their curriculum. NSU employs only the highest quality faculty members, the vast majority of which have several years of applicable work experience and a terminal degree in their field. Norfolk students can spend their free time participating in campus clubs and organizations, including Greek life chapters and special interest groups. Financial assistance opportunities are available in the form of grants, scholarships, and federal funding, removing the financial worry that typically comes with academics.
|18||Virginia State University||$33,300||Petersburg, VA|
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As one of the two land-grant institutions operating out of Virginia, Virginia State University welcomes students coming from all backgrounds to benefit from the quality curriculum and rich campus culture. Virginia State is split into six colleges, each of which provides a number of undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs. The majority of Virginia State courses are designed to be transferable, so if a student must relocate to a new institution, they can be confident their credit will be accepted. Students may pass their free time by participating in either club or intramural sports, including basketball, tennis, and soccer.
|19||Clark Atlanta University||$34,800||Atlanta, GA|
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With a large selection of undergraduate and graduate level programs, Clark Atlanta University provides potential students with the unique opportunity to shape their own futures. CAU is the conglomeration of two of Atlanta’s oldest historically black institutions, Atlanta University and Clark College, and seeks to celebrate its cultural history by creating an inclusive and diverse campus environment. CAU employs 171 full-time faculty members, 81 percent of whom hold a terminal degree in their field of study. Students attending CAU will have the option to utilize on-campus student housing, allowing for a comfortable and academically stimulating living environment.
|20||North Carolina Central University||$32,200||Durham, NC|
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North Carolina Central University was established in 1909 as the nation’s first public liberal arts institution of higher education catering to African Americans, and to this day upholds its rich history. NCCU students become members of a solid, supportive community of individuals, brought together by the mutual purpose of personal betterment. Graduates from NCCU conclude their academics with a well-rounded base of education and an expertise in an emphasis of their choosing, whether it focuses in the arts or sciences. NCCU also provides its students with a variety of community engagement options, including campus events and hosting a wide variety of clubs and organizations.
|21||Tuskegee University||$35,300||Tuskegee, AL|
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One of the primary goals expressed by Tuskegee University is to develop a cohesive, culturally diverse environment that links a student’s academic pursuits with their long-term career goals. TU is comprised of five colleges and three schools which cumulatively offer more than 68 competetive degree programs, ranging from the baccalaureate to the master’s and doctoral levels. One considerable benefit of learning at TU is in their online learning options, including a large selection of courses and two master’s degree programs. Student life at TU is characterized by communal support and integration, both of which are facilitated by on-campus events and student clubs.
|22||Winston-Salem State University||$31,800||Winston-Salem, NC|
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Graduates of Winston-Salem State University are known for their knowledgeability and personal integrity, qualities that are instilled through comprehensive academic programs and a communally supportive environment. This distinguished, historically black institution links its history to its goals, creating high-quality academic opportunities for any student who may be interested in enrolling. WSSU breaks its academics down into four colleges and departments, each of which oversees a variety of emphases at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students attending WSSU will also have the opportunity to get better acquainted with their peers by utilizing the modern on-campus housing options offered through WSSU.
|23||Albany State University||$31,500||Albany, GA|
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Albany State University is one of the driving forces behind economic growth in the southwest Georgia territory. ASU is a historically black institution, and places a distinct emphasis on embracing a diverse range of students coming from multicultural backgrounds. Students enrolled at ASU have the opportunity to specify their academic future by selecting from majors in the arts, business, education, health, and science & technology fields. Prospective students who are interested in ASU’s unique learning options, but are unable to attend on-campus classes, may also wish to consider distance learning options that provide high-quality learning in a flexible format.
|24||Fisk University||$33,200||Nashville, TN|
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Established only a short time after the Civil War concluded, Fisk University is Nashville’s oldest higher education institution, having provided its students with comprehensive learning opportunities for over 150 years. Today, Fisk offers academic programs in the fields of arts and language, behavioral sciences, education, life and physical sciences, and several more. Students attending Fisk will also have the option to complete a portion of their degree online, facilitating the same quality learning while allowing for a flexible academic schedule. Fisk fosters a sense of community on their campus by hosting a variety of extracurricular pastimes, including athletics, more than 50 student clubs and organizations, and regularly held on-campus events.
|25||Savannah State University||$31,000||Savannah, GA|
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With a nearly 5,000 students enrolled, Savannah State University stands apart not only as the oldest public historically black institution of higher education in Georgia, but also as an example of how best to facilitate student success. The variety of Savannah State’s academic programs—30 undergraduate and six graduate level—allows students coming into their college experience with a variety of academic interests to narrow down their choices, finding the program that best fits their goals. Savannah further guarantees student success by removing the financial stress that comes with academics, boasting an impressive 90 percent of its student body as receiving some form of financial assistance.
|26||Dillard University||$32,800||New Orleans, LA|
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Dillard University official came into being in 1935 as the result of merging two of Louisiana’s historically black institutions: New Orleans University and Straight University. Both schools held their own denominational affiliations, and Dillard University strives to uphold these roots. The academic programs available at Dillard are broken down into two colleges—the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of business—as well as the Dillard School of Nursing. In addition to any first-time students, Dillard also welcomes students transferring credits from other institutions of higher education and is willing to honor previous coursework that may apply to a Dillard degree.
|27||Huston-Tillotson University||$31,800||Austin, TX|
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Huston-Tillotson University is a faith-based institution that blends academic pursuits with religious purpose through the support of The United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ. Academic majors and minors at HTU range from a variety of fields and are broken down into The College of Arts and Sciences and The School of Business and Technology. Financial support is awarded to the majority of the HTU population, and is distributed in the form of scholarships, grants, and loans. HTU is also the home to large selection of men’s and women’s athletic teams, including track & field, soccer, basketball, and baseball.
|28||Oakwood University||$32,200||Huntsville, AL|
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Hunstville, Alabama is the home to Oakwood University, a religion-focused, historically black institution established in 1896. Oakwood has developed its institutional backbone around one clear goal: God comes first. Oakwood students are individuals of great moral and ethical charisma and are able to progress through their academics while bolstering their faith. Graduates from Oakwood have gone on to become practicing experts in the fields of medicine, education, business, and several others. On-campus life is always thriving, with regularly held events, athletics, and more than 30 clubs and organizations students can participate in.
|29||Jackson State University||$29,100||Jackson, MS|
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Having gone through several name changes throughout its existence, the now-titled Jackson State University stands apart as one of Mississippi’s finest institutions. With its historically black history, JSU seeks to develop an inclusive and culturally diverse environment characterized by its student body’s eagerness for academic betterment. A wide variety of JSU’s courses are designed to be transferrable, as well, allowing students to relocate without worrying about being able to utilize their credits. Several Greek life chapters are also hosted through JSU, allowing students to develop closer relationships with their academic peers.
|30||Wilberforce University||$31,500||Wilberforce, OH|
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By drawing on its rich cultural history as America’s oldest private, historically black university, Wilberforce University can create an academically and socially stimulating environment for its students. Students come from all over the country to study at Wilberforce, whether they are seeking their bachelor’s degree or intend to study at the graduate level. Wilberforce helps to guarantee student success by implementing a variety of student services, including tutoring, counseling, and academic advising, each department for which is staffed by highly trained individuals. Students looking to fill up their free time may also wish to participate in one of Wilberforce’s several intramural sports teams.