What is an HBCU? Fast facts about historically Black colleges and universities.

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HBCUs are a source of accomplishment and great pride for the African American community as well as the entire nation.

The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 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, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.”

HBCUs offer all students, regardless of race, an opportunity to develop their skills and talents. These institutions train young people who go on to serve domestically and internationally in the professions as entrepreneurs and in the public and private sectors.

Fast Facts (Source: National Center for Education Statistics)


Executive Order on White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities  

Presidential Executive Order 14041

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to advance equity in economic and educational opportunities for all Americans, including Black Americans, strengthen the capacity of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to provide the highest-quality education, increase opportunities for these institutions to participate in and benefit from Federal programs, and ensure that HBCUs can continue to be engines of opportunity, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. HBCUs have a proud history and legacy of achievement. In the face of discrimination against Black Americans by many institutions of higher education, HBCUs
created pathways to opportunity and educational excellence for Black students throughout our Nation. That legacy continues. Today, more than 100 HBCUs, located in 19 States, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, serve nearly 300,000 students
annually. HBCUs vary in size and academic focus and serve a range of diverse students and communities in urban, rural, and suburban settings.

HBCUs play a vital role in providing educational opportunities, scholarly growth, and a
sense of community for students. HBCU graduates are barrier breaking public servants,
scientists, artists, lawyers, engineers, educators, business owners, and leaders. For generations, HBCUs have been advancing intergenerational economic mobility for Black families and communities, developing vital academic research, and making our country more prosperous and equitable. HBCUs are proven means of advancement for people of all ethnic, racial, and economic backgrounds, especially Black Americans. HBCUs produce nearly 20 percent of all Black college graduates and 25 percent of Black graduates who earn degrees in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and math.


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