Historically Black Colleges and Universities

What data do you have on historically Black colleges and universities in the U.S.?


Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions that were established prior to 1964 and have the principal mission of educating Black Americans (source). These institutions were founded and developed in an environment of legal segregation and, by providing access to higher education, contributed substantially to the progress Black Americans have made in improving their status (source). Today, there are 100 HBCUs located in 19 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (source). Of the 100 HBCUs, 51 are public institutions and 49 are private nonprofit institutions. The number of students enrolled at HBCUs rose by 36 percent between 1976 and 2013, from 223,000 to 303,000 (source). In comparison, total postsecondary enrollment increased by 85 percent, from 11 million to over 20 million, during that period (source).

Although HBCUs were originally founded to educate Black students, they have historically also enrolled students other than Black Americans. This diversity has increased over time ( source). In 2013, non-Black students made up 20 percent of enrollment at HBCUs, compared with 15 percent in 1976 (source). Enrollment at HBCUs in 2013 was 61 percent female, up from 53 percent in 1976 (source). In 2013, some 87 percent of HBCU students attended a 4-year institution, while 13 percent attended a 2-year institution. A higher percentage of HBCU students attended public institutions than private nonprofit institutions (76 vs. 24 percent). Among Black students, the percentage enrolled at HBCUs has fallen over time, from 18 percent in 1976 to 8 percent in 2013 (source) and (source).

In 2012–13, most of the 48,500 degrees conferred by HBCUs were bachelor's degrees (70 percent) and master's degrees (16 percent) (source). Blacks earned 84 percent of the 33,700 bachelor's degrees conferred by HBCUs in that year. At the master's level in 2012–13, Black HBCU students earned 73 percent of the degrees conferred at these institutions. In addition, at both levels, a majority of these degrees were awarded to Black females. Over time, the percentages of bachelor's and master's degrees awarded to Blacks by HBCUs have decreased (source , source, source , and source). For example, HBCUs awarded 35 percent of the bachelor's degrees Blacks earned in 1976–77, compared with 15 percent in 2012–13. Additionally, the percentage of Black doctor's degree recipients who received their degrees from HBCUs was lower in 2012–13 (12 percent) than in 1976–77 (14 percent) (source, source, source, and source).


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