The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines an HBCU as "… any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans."
Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCUs) have a long history of serving African American communities well before many colleges and universities would admit black students. There are 101 HBCUs , listed on the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities website consisting of public and private two-year and four-year institutions, as well as graduate and professional schools.
Even though today's African American students can attend college anywhere their grades and talents can take them, many still turn to HBCUs for their education.
Why attend an HBCU?
For some students, it may be the chance to study with mentors who are of the same culture and who are successful in their fields.
Others may have family ties to an HBCU that go back generations.
In addition to rigorous academics, HBCUs have storied legacies that are intertwined with the history of civil rights in the United States, giving their students, regardless of race or background, a distinctive perspective on the African American experience.
And the appeal of HBCUs goes beyond African American communities. Though the student bodies at most of these schools are predominantly African American, HBCUs encourage students from different backgrounds and cultures to join their academic communities.