HBCU Facts

  • The first HBCU owned and operated by African Americans was Wilberforce University in Ohio, which was founded in 1856. It was named for William Wilberforce, an abolitionist.
  • 9% of all African American college students were enrolled at HBCUs in 2015.
  • More than 20% of African-American college graduates receive their degree from an HBCU.
  • 40% of African-American members of Congress, 50% of African-American lawyers, and 80% of African-American judges graduated from an HBCU.
  • The average graduation rate at a four-year HBCU hovered around 59% in 2015, higher than that national average for African American students at non-HBCUs.
  • HBCUs significantly contribute to the creation of African American science degree holders: agriculture (51.6%), biology (42.2%), computer science (35%), physical science (43%), and social science (23.2%).
  • Nine of the top ten colleges that graduate the majority of African American students who go on to earn Ph.D.s are HBCUs.
  • Graduates from Spelman and Bennett Colleges contribute to over half of the nation’s African American women who earn doctorates in all science fields, which is more than Ivy League “Seven Sisters” combined.
  • Half of the nation’s 105 HBCUs have a freshman class where three-quarters of the students are from low-income backgrounds, while just 1% of the non-HBCUs colleges serve as high a percentage of low-income students.
  • HBCUs are open to students of any race or ethnic background. An average of one in four HBCU students is a different race than the one the school was intended to serve, with Asians and Latino students the fastest growing demographic.

For more facts on HBCUs visit our partners Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the United Negro College Fund.

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