Several HBCUs are scattered around the United States and are sacred grounds for culture. Alongside unity and prosperity for those in attendance, an HBCU can provide college students with a sense of community and structure – without oppression or social anxieties that can come from feeling out of place.
There is a long and challenging history that many black citizens of the United States have faced regarding getting into colleges and higher educational institutions. HBCUs have become beacons of hope and inspiration for many.
Florida A&M University
Affectionately termed FAMU, Florida A&M University offers several degrees, studies, and learning resources. Additionally, Florida A&M University has a robust community and offers a low tuition cost. After financial aid, tuition can be as little as $15,000. Florida A&M University also has a high graduation rate. Nearly half of all attendees get their degree, while only around 33% of applicants get accepted into enrollment at the university.
The “A&M” portion of the school’s name stands for agricultural and mechanical, meaning that this higher education facility specializes in horticulture, plant biology, and mechanical studies.
Anyone who has attended High School in Florida is familiar with the Florida A&M University. This University is one of the most famous higher education institutions in the state and offers degrees in various fields of study.
Founded in 1887, the Florida A&M University treats students as a family. This university has placed all of its focus on providing a legacy of access to the best and most affordable college education in the area. With a strong dedication to the success of their nearly 10,000 students from across the country and the world, the average GPA is around 3.67. This GPA level is no small feat and speaks to the assistance, resources, and dedication of the university’s staff to the success of their students.
Florida A&M University is the number one HBCU facility for research and development, as determined by the National Science Foundation. Alongside being one of the best research and development universities available, Florida A&M University boasts many core values. These include:
- Shared Governance
Florida A&M University is the number one public HBCU – and for a good reason. See campus life and find out why others are enrolling here.
This university has been operating since the early 1900s. Mary McLeod Bethune first founded the school by providing funds for girls to pursue higher education. The roots of what would soon become Bethune-Cookman University began in 1904 when Mary McLeod Bethune founded the Daytona Literary Industrial Training School for Negro Girls. This school grew into what is not Bethune-Cookman University.
Over the decades, Bethune-Cookman University has undergone much growth and development, having received many awards and accolades for being one of the best and most affordable HBCU campuses in the country. This university is now known for strong academic performance and personalized information delivery that enhances learning and educational growth.
Located in Daytona Beach, Florida, Bethune-Cookman University remains one of the most highly sought-out HBCUs in the country. The strong academic performance mingles with the comprehensive athletics departments to foster a patriotic sense of community among students and staff.
Bethune-Cookman University costs about $17,000 for tuition, which is in line with many HBCUs in the country. The graduation rate is about 35%, a shocking finding considering that Bethune-Cookman University has a 98% acceptance rate.
For a long time, Bethune-Cookman University was not considered a full-scale university, but the facility reached university status in 2007. Bethune-Cookman University has more than 2,800 students and is proud of all 19,000 graduates who have received a degree from this facility.
This small university has a mission statement that involves driving forward the loving, giving, and honest legacy of Dr. Bethune, who put forth the best to create an institute of higher education for black students in need.
You can learn all about the Mary McLeod Bethune Foundation here.
Edward Waters College
Edward Waters College is one of the oldest institutions of higher learning for black students in the United States. In 1865, Reverend Charles H. Pearce recognized the need for higher education for many emancipated black citizens. Thus, Pearce established a church the following year that would go on to become Edward Water College.
This college has not been without struggle and challenge. As racial tensions rose and more black citizens were emancipated, many parties rose to oppose the schooling of black people. However, Edward Waters College offered educational courses of all levels and continued to build and provide education despite the harsh challenges of the area and time.
Today, Edward Waters College is thriving and a beacon of hope to many black students who enroll to receive their higher education at their facilities. In addition to being one of the oldest HBCUs in the United States, Edward Waters College also boasts a strong and varied academic and athletic profile.
Edward Waters College costs about $13,000 for tuition after financial aid. This college also has a 26% graduation rate. Only about 57% of applicants are accepted into Edward Waters College, leaving the facility with low rates for applicants and graduation. However difficult the road has been for Edward Waters College, it is not an accredited college and has been reaffirmed in 2006 and 2015 by various boards and commissions.
Find out why many students are choosing Edward Waters College here.
Florida Memorial University
This privately-owned university lies in Miami Gardens, Florida, and is one of the best HBCUs in Florida. Florida Memorial University is part of the United Negro College Fund and has a focus on Christianity and Christian values.
With a tuition cost of $18,000, this university is one of the cheapest and most beneficial for low-income families to provide quality higher education. The graduation rate from this university is about 35%, although 38% of applicants are accepted onto campus.
The application for Florida Memorial University is free, and everyone is encouraged to apply for enrollment. With roots leading back as far as 1879, this historically black university prides itself on determination, accomplishment, and diversity.
Florida Memorial University is dedicated to the freedom and expression of ideas, education, and life-long learning. Staff and students are encouraged to participate and contribute to the community fostered on campus to be service-minded, successful, and lead their peers with both character and respect.
This university boasts values from the Baptist Church, making it an ideal location for black students who have strong religious and theological ties. Degree programs available include those for arts, sciences, business, cyber security, teaching, ROTC, and graduate studies. This ideal location also offers some of the best higher education resources in the state.
In 1879, the Bethlehem Baptist Association founded a previous institution that would grow and move but ultimately give birth to Florida Memorial University, the only historically black university in southern Florida.
Florida Memorial University’s history has not been without struggle. Racial tensions began to impact the daily operations of the facility, and safety and security were called into question. Despite these concerns, staff and students never stopped pursuing the education they deserved.
See why Florida Memorial University is an excellent choice for black students looking for hope, security, and inspiration here.
What Is an HBCU?
HBCU is an acronym meaning Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These locations began appearing during the civil rights era when black students were not allowed admittance to colleges and universities due to the color of their skin. However, in 1965 the Higher Education Act was passed, which defined an HBCU as any college or university beginning before 1964 to advance the educational pursuits of black students.
As a result of this injustice, Booker T. Washington and Mary McLeod Bethune, among other African-American leaders, began building and funding private educational institutions for black students to learn in peace and comfort.
Because these colleges were segregated – mainly because of the rampant and violent racism at the time – these colleges and universities have developed into historically black locations and deep roots in culture, tradition, and history.
There are dozens of historically black colleges and universities located in the United States. From Virginia to California, black students can find and enroll in a historically black college or university that matches their needs. In 2020, there were about 101 HBCUs located within the United States, and that number only appears to be climbing.
Most HBCUs are in the southern United States. However, many northern states also have famous HBCUs that advocate for the education and advancement of black students.
Why HBCUs Are Important and Should Be Protected
HBCUs are the face of much pride and hard work for the African American community. Historically black colleges and universities are symbols of perseverance, hope, and inspiration for black students all over the United States and prove that nothing is impossible – including, but not limited to, higher education.
There is a wide selection of reasons black students choose a historically black college or university. Whether they are looking for a sense of belonging or a more nurturing environment, an HBCU can give black students everything they need for the utmost success.
Best Cost for Low-Income Students
Historically black colleges and universities are often less expensive than those not historically for black students. This lower cost of tuition was, and is, implemented to promote higher education for students who come from oppressed communities and those who come from families that have financially struggled.
This reduced cost has several significant impacts on the black communities surrounding black students of HBCUs. Typically, these students hold education close to their hearts and will likely pass that passion down to their children. In time, the value of higher education can help future generations stay far from the wealth struggle that many minorities experience in the United States.
Helps Close Racial Income Gaps
The racial income and wealth gap in the United States is significant and disappointing. Many black students may be discouraged by the wealth gap between their families and white families they may know. However, the lower cost of tuition at historically black colleges and universities can help offset the wealth gap in coming generations between black students’ families and white families in the same area.
The racial wealth gap is a consistent issue nationwide. Studies across the United States have shown that 54% of African Americans between 25 and 40 have student loan debt, whereas only 39% of white Americans have student loan debt in the same demographic. By offering a lower tuition cost, HBCUs are helping to create future generations where this wealth, wage, and income gap does not exist.
Campus Community and Closeness
HBCUs are cohesive communities for students and faculty to come together and help each other succeed. Students historically perform at a higher quality when they feel safe, secure, and as if they matter.
Campus climate, mission statement, and values are integral to contributing to the emotional well-being of students enrolled in a college. HBCUs take campus climate seriously and often have more student support groups, programs, and office hours to handle student concerns.
Race, inequalities, and racially-motivated incidents on and off college campuses contribute to African American culture and make race more noticeable for black students. However, when attending an HBCU, many students may feel like their concerns are handled with more care and sensitivity and feel that other opinions remain unbiased due to race.
Best Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Florida, Final Thoughts
Historically black colleges and universities have been providing black students with comfort, security, and hope for over 100 years. Some have been around since the early 1800s. The Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, for example, became the first HBCU on February 25, 1837.
There are dozens of reasons that black students choose HBCUs, but it all boils down to feeling safe and secure. These top four HBCUs in Florida are wonderful options for higher education for black students around the country in a culturally rich environment.