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Most Influential HBCUs–AcademicInfluence.com Ranks the Elite Historically Black Colleges & Universities

Fort Worth, TX — HBCUs are hot. America’s Historically Black Colleges & Universities are attracting more students and generating more press attention—and deservedly so.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities are schools of higher learning largely established between the end of slavery in 1865 and the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in order to create opportunities in higher education for Black students. At a time when southern colleges refused their admission and quotas at northern colleges dictated the number of Black students admitted, HBCUs emerged to advance educational, professional, and economic interests for Black Americans.

For 2021, AcademicInfluence.com announces the 30 elite HBCUs that have proven most influential over the past two decades:

Most Influential HBCUs 2000–2020

What are the top 30 Historically Black Colleges & Universities overall?

  • Alabama State University (Montgomery, Alabama)
  • Alcorn State University (Alcorn State, Mississippi)
  • Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, Florida)
  • Clark Atlanta University (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Dillard University (New Orleans, Louisiana)
  • Elizabeth City State University (Elizabeth City, North Carolina)
  • Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, Florida)
  • Hampton University (Hampton, Virginia)
  • Howard University (Washington, District of Columbia)
  • Jackson State University (Jackson, Mississippi)
  • Lincoln University (Lincoln University, Pennsylvania)
  • Morehouse College (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Morgan State University (Baltimore, Maryland)
  • Norfolk State University (Norfolk, Virginia)
  • North Carolina Central University (Durham, North Carolina)
  • Savannah State University (Savannah, Georgia)
  • South Carolina State University (Orangeburg, South Carolina)
  • Spelman College (Atlanta, Georgia)
  • Tennessee State University (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • Texas Southern University (Houston, Texas)
  • Tougaloo College (Tougaloo, Mississippi)
  • Tuskegee University (Tuskegee, Alabama)
  • University of the District of Columbia (Washington, District of Columbia)
  • University of the Virgin Islands (Charlotte Amalie, U.S. Virgin Islands)
  • Virginia State University (Petersburg, Virginia)
  • Virginia Union University (Richmond, Virginia)
  • West Virginia State University (Institute, West Virginia)
  • Wilberforce University (Wilberforce, Ohio)
  • Xavier University of Louisiana (New Orleans, Louisiana)

Baseline criteria for this ranking include four-year undergraduate degree offerings and full accreditation. Visit the link above for the final ranking order, details about each school, and lists of alumni from each school who influence our world today.

“For many students, HBCUs have established themselves as their preferred educational destination. Students today want more than a degree—they want a college experience that meets their personal needs. And more are finding what they want in an HBCU,” says Dr. Jed Macosko, academic director of AcademicInfluence.com and professor of physics at Wake Forest University.

HBCUs remain a critical source of education, community, and opportunity for Black students as well as a diverse cross-section of Latino, Asian, and white students. According to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 51 public HBCUs and 50 private, nonprofit HBCUs provide degrees at every level of higher education. At the time of writing, 38 HBCUs offered associate degree programs, 83 offered bachelor’s degrees, 52 conferred master’s degrees, and 27 granted doctoral degrees.

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