Introduction to Historically Black Colleges and Universities
To find the best fit is the desire of each student applying to U.S. colleges and universities. To realize that dream, one needs to understand the system of education well and be aware of the many options available to international students. I am going to devote a series of posts to different types of schools in the U.S. to help you during your search. Today, I want to introduce you to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and discuss some fast facts about them.

What are Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)?
If we look HBCUs up in Britannica, we will find the following definition: “Historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), institutions of higher education in the United States founded prior to 1964 for African American students. The term was created by the Higher Education Act of 1965, which expanded federal funding for colleges and universities.”

How many HBCUs are there in the USA and where are they located?
There are 101 HBCUs in the U.S. spreading through 20 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands of the United States. They are public and private institutions offering programs in more than 100 majors. Most of HBCUs are located in the southern states such as Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas. These states host 40% of all HBCUs. Historically Black colleges and universities are relatively small schools with serving 2,000 or fewer students, although there are 12 medium-sized schools serving from 5,000 to 10, 000 students.

Who studies at HBCUs?
HBCUs welcome all students of all races and ethnicities! Like other schools of higher education in the U.S. HBCUs welcome international students to bring diversity, culture and global exposure to their campuses. The percentage of African-Americans is very high although there is a trend that the population of other ethnicities (White, Asian, Latinos, etc.) is growing. There are extremes in both directions. For example, there are schools where the percentage of African-Americans varies from 96% in Morehouse College, Virginia and 99% in Benedict College, South Carolina.  Meanwhile, there are some HBCUs where the enrollment of African-American students is less than 10% while other ethnic groups may reach more than 50%. For example, white students in Bluefield College, Virginia comprise more than 90% and Hispanics students in St. Philip’s College, Texas comprise more than half of the student body.

What do studies at HBCU look like? Are there any benefits at all?
HBCUs played their historical role in providing educational opportunities to millions of African-Americans since their foundation in the middle of the last century. They continue fulfilling their mission of supporting and providing education for students from the USA as well as many other countries. Like any other type of institutes of higher education, there are some myths about them. Read that article that dispels at least some of misconceptions accompanying studying at HBCUs. HBCU vary in terms of programs, selectivity, diversity, and faculty, as well as many other factors. International students may find the experience a very positive one. Here is a list of some things you should take into consideration when considering different options:

There are some well-known and recognized HBCUs, like Hampton University, Howard University, Morehouse College, and Spelman College. Many other schools offer a great education in different majors and levels of education: Bachelor, Master, and Ph.D. programs.  Look at each school’s website and do thorough research before taking the decision where to apply.

Cost of study and financial aid
HBCUs have smaller endowments in comparison with Predominantly White Colleges (PWC) and consequently are not able to give as much financial aid to students.  Meanwhile, the cost of study in HBCUs is generally lower but some funding is still available to international students at places interested in expanding the diversity of their campuses.

Student life
International students do study at HBCUs. They may find a lot of extra-curricular activities and sports there. HBCUs are designed as places for giving students a chance to become better people. Many international students have had a very positive experience there as studying allowed them not just to learn a certain major but also to gain a better sense of themselves.

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