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All About the Top 5 HBCUs of 2021

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

In the foreground is a white sign that says "Spelman College" in blue letters. Behind the sign is a black metal fence and a large brick building.

Niche’s top-ranked HBCUs, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, are based on acquired statistics from U.S. Department of Education and student reviews.

The top 5 ranked HBCUs are leading academic institutions that offer a unique student experience and produce students that become trailblazers in many various professions. 

1. Spelman College

Ranked as the #1 Best HBCU in America, Spelman College is a private women’s liberal arts university in Atlanta, Georgia.

Founded in 1881, Spelman College has remained committed to empowering women to engage in many cultures of the world, become global leaders, and stay committed to positive social change and service.

Spelman also remains dedicated to academic excellence in liberal arts and sciences and the development of its students, which can be seen through their alumnae. Notable alumnae include Pulitzer Prize winning author Alice Walker, American politician Stacey Abrams, and actress Esther Rolle. 

Location: Atlanta, GA

Motto: Our Whole School for Christ

Colors: Columbia Blue and White

Popular Majors: Psychology, Political Science and Government, and Biology

2. Howard University

Howard University, ranked as the #2 Best HBCU in America, prepares students to learn, lead, and epitomize the university motto of truth and service.

Founded in 1867, Howard University has remained committed to the development of students to drive change and provide solutions to global problems. Located in Washington, D.C., Howard has awarded more African-American Ph.D. degrees than any other university in the United States and is a leader in STEM. 

The university has a long-list of notable accomplishments and alumni who have paved the way for young professionals to become leaders in varying fields.

Notable alumni include the late Oscar-nominated actor Chadwick Boseman, United States Vice President Kamala Harris, renowned author Toni Morrison, and the first Black Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (who graduated from the law school). 

Location: Washington, D.C.

Motto: Truth and Service

Colors: Blue, White, and Red

Popular Majors: Biology, Political Science and Government, and Communications

4 Reasons Why You Should Consider An HBCU

3. Florida A&M University (FAMU) 

Ranked as the #3 Best HBCU in America, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, also known as FAMU, values academic excellence, affordability, and diversity in thought, perspective, and culture.

Founded in 1887, FAMU first began classes with fifteen students and two instructors as the State Normal College for Colored Students. Today, the university enrolls over 6,000 students and has a student to faculty ratio of 15:1.

FAMU holds a commitment to scholarship, excellence, openness, ethics, service, and more.

Location: Tallahassee, FL

Motto: Excellence with Caring

Colors: Orange and Green

Popular Majors: Liberal Arts and Humanities, Health Service Preparatory Studies, and Criminal Justice and Safety Studies

4. Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA)

Founded in 1925, Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) is the only Historically Black and Catholic University in America.

XULA prepares its students to contribute to and promote a more just and humane society. The institution is nationally recognized as a leader in STEM and produces more African American medical school graduates than any other university in the United States.

Location: New Orleans, LA

Motto: With God’s Help There is Nothing to Fear

Colors: Gold and White

Popular Majors: Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology 

5. North Carolina A&T State University (NCAT)

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, founded in 1891, has a long history of advancing the civil rights and educational needs of African Americans.

NCAT advances knowledge and transforms society through teaching, learning, discovery, and community engagement. North Carolina A&T State University scholars are engaged in transformative teaching and learning, civic outreach, and interdisciplinary research and innovative solutions to global challenges. 

Location: Greensboro, NC

Motto: Mind and Hand

Colors: Blue and Gold

Popular Majors: Communications, Liberal Arts and Humanities, and Sports and Fitness Management

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All You Need To Know About HBCUs

Author: Laten Jordan

Laten Jordan is a Junior Honors Political Science student at Howard University.