Most Influential HBCUs 2000-2020

The very best HBCUs serve as a place for belonging, empowerment, and pride in Black culture and identity while pressing forward on equal opportunity for all Americans. Our Influence Rankings cast a spotlight on the iconic institutions and noteworthy influencers that embody Black excellence in education.

Most Influential HBCUs 2000-2020

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are schools of higher learning that were largely established between the end of slavery in 1865 and the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 in order to create opportunities in higher education for Black students. At a time when Southern colleges refused their admission and many Northern colleges had rigid quotas on how many Black students could be admitted, HBCUs emerged to advance educational, professional, and economic interests for Black Americans.

Today, HBCUs remain a critical source of education, community, and opportunity for Black students as well as a diverse cross-section that includes Latino, Asian, and White students. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) categorizes 101 institutions of higher learning as HBCUs across 19 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Because racial segregation played a direct role in the need for such institutions, the majority of HBCUs are concentrated in the South.

According to the NCES, as of 2018, there were 51 public HBCUs and 50 private, non-profit HBCUs providing 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.

Among the luminaries who were inspired to greatness during their time as students in America’s top HBCUs are Civil Rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. (Morehouse College), media magnate Oprah Winfrey (Tennessee State University), Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison (Howard University), and current Vice President Kamala Harris (Howard University).

How do we determine the Most Influential HBCUs?

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why influence gets at the heart of what is truly best in education. At the undergraduate level, the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers is the best indicator of academic excellence. Overall influence, and not influence controlled by other variables, thus becomes the best gauge of academic excellence.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Influence, as measured by our InfluenceRanking engine, provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.

Find out more about our methodology here.


The Most Influential Historically Black Colleges and Universities

We’ve identified the most influential HBCUs in the United States. The list below focuses on those schools that offer four-year undergraduate degrees and are fully accredited.

#1

Howard University

#131 institution's historical influence
#220 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$28K

Acceptance

39%

Graduation

64%

Student body

8K

Median SAT/ACT

1205/24

Washington, DC

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What is Howard University known for?

Howard University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Law
  • Education
  • Political Science
  • Medical
  • Literature
  • History
  • Business
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Communications

Most Influential Alumni

#2

Morehouse College

#442 institution's historical influence
#1436 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$29K

Acceptance

77%

Graduation

56%

Student body

2K

Median SAT/ACT

1081/20

Atlanta, GA

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What is Morehouse College known for?

Morehouse College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Political Science
  • Literature
  • Religious Studies
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Engineering
  • Communications
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
#3

Spelman College

#662 institution's historical influence
#1205 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$30K

Acceptance

53%

Graduation

75%

Student body

2K

Median SAT/ACT

1155/24

Atlanta, GA

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What is Spelman College known for?

Spelman College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Literature
  • Medical
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Biology
  • Engineering
  • Sociology

Most Influential Alumni

#4

Fisk University

#523 institution's historical influence
#843 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$22K

Acceptance

66%

Graduation

51%

Student body

<1K

Median SAT/ACT

1040/21

Nashville, TN

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What is Fisk University known for?

Fisk University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Literature
  • Education
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Business
  • Sociology
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Physics

Most Influential Alumni

#5

Tennessee State University

#1048 institution's historical influence

Tuition + fees

$9K

Graduation

26%

Student body

7K

Nashville, TN

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What is Tennessee State University known for?

Tennessee State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Medical
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Literature
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Communications

Most Influential Alumni

#6

Tuskegee University

#439 institution's historical influence
#338 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$23K

Acceptance

61%

Graduation

52%

Student body

3K

Median SAT/ACT

989/20

Tuskegee, AL

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What is Tuskegee University known for?

Tuskegee University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Literature
  • Business
  • Political Science
  • Engineering
  • Medical
  • Biology
  • History
  • Nursing
  • Chemistry
#7

Florida A&M University

#1131 institution's historical influence
#122 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$6K

Acceptance

33%

Graduation

55%

Student body

8K

Median SAT/ACT

1095/21

Tallahassee, FL

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What is Florida A&M University known for?

Florida A&M University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Law
  • Engineering
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Biology
  • Medical
  • Communications
  • Chemistry
  • Literature
#8

North Carolina A&T State University

#1552 institution's historical influence
#1173 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$7K

Acceptance

57%

Graduation

52%

Student body

12K

Median SAT/ACT

1060/19

Greensboro, NC

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What is North Carolina A&T State University known for?

North Carolina A&T State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Business
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Political Science
  • Medical
  • Biology
  • History
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry

Most Influential Alumni

#8

Hampton University

#619 institution's historical influence
#666 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$29K

Acceptance

36%

Graduation

57%

Student body

4K

Hampton, VA

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What is Hampton University known for?

Hampton University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Political Science
  • Literature
  • History
  • Medical
  • Communications
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
#9

North Carolina Central University

#1077 institution's historical influence
#789 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$7K

Acceptance

87%

Graduation

52%

Student body

7K

Median SAT/ACT

970/18

Durham, NC

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What is North Carolina Central University known for?

North Carolina Central University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Law
  • Mathematics
  • Political Science
  • Biology
  • History
  • Medical
  • Criminal Justice
  • Psychology
  • Computer Science

Most Influential Alumni

#10

Clark Atlanta University

#671 institution's historical influence
#443 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$22K

Acceptance

59%

Graduation

42%

Student body

4K

Median SAT/ACT

1010/18

Atlanta, GA

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What is Clark Atlanta University known for?

Clark Atlanta University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Political Science
  • Education
  • Literature
  • History
  • Business
  • Mathematics
  • Social Work
  • Religious Studies
  • Sociology
  • Philosophy
#11

Xavier University of Louisiana

#1710 institution's historical influence
#528 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$26K

Acceptance

81%

Graduation

50%

Student body

3K

Median SAT/ACT

1075/23

New Orleans, LA

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What is Xavier University of Louisiana known for?

Xavier University of Louisiana’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Political Science
  • Business
  • Medical
  • History
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Literature
  • Sociology
#12

University of the Virgin Islands

#1969 institution's historical influence
#560 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$5K

Acceptance

100%

Graduation

30%

Student body

2K

Median SAT/ACT

909/17

Charlotte Amalie, VI

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What is University of the Virgin Islands known for?

University of the Virgin Islands’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Biology
  • Education
  • Political Science
  • Literature
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Medical
  • Communications
#13

Norfolk State University

#2118 institution's historical influence
#497 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$10K

Acceptance

91%

Graduation

39%

Student body

5K

Median SAT/ACT

950/18

Norfolk, VA

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What is Norfolk State University known for?

Norfolk State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Business
  • Communications
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Medical
  • Mathematics
  • Psychology
#14

Lincoln University

#645 institution's historical influence

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

90%

Graduation

45%

Student body

2K

Median SAT/ACT

940/17

Lincoln University, PA

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What is Lincoln University known for?

Lincoln University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Literature
  • Education
  • Political Science
  • Medical
  • Psychology
  • History
  • Communications
  • Philosophy
  • Mathematics
  • Sociology

Most Influential Alumni

#15

Texas Southern University

#952 institution's historical influence
#550 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$9K

Acceptance

66%

Graduation

19%

Student body

7K

Median SAT/ACT

920/16

Houston, TX

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What is Texas Southern University known for?

Texas Southern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Law
  • Education
  • Medical
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Criminal Justice
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • Communications
  • Mathematics

Most Influential Alumni

#16

Wilberforce University

#959 institution's historical influence
#532 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$13K

Acceptance

62%

Graduation

39%

Student body

<1K

Median SAT/ACT

788/17

Wilberforce, OH

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What is Wilberforce University known for?

Wilberforce University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Computer Science
  • Political Science
  • Literature
  • Business
  • Medical
  • Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Communications
  • Biology

Most Influential Alumni

#17

Dillard University

#1237 institution's historical influence
#477 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$19K

Acceptance

65%

Graduation

50%

Student body

1K

Median SAT/ACT

1050/21

New Orleans, LA

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What is Dillard University known for?

Dillard University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Medical
  • Political Science
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Literature
  • Nursing
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Sociology
  • Biology

Most Influential Alumni

#18

Morgan State University

#1027 institution's historical influence
#1063 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$8K

Acceptance

74%

Graduation

46%

Student body

7K

Median SAT/ACT

705/18

Baltimore, MD

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What is Morgan State University known for?

Morgan State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Business
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Physics
  • Medical
  • Communications
  • Mathematics
  • Literature
#19

Virginia State University

#1203 institution's historical influence
#801 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$9K

Acceptance

96%

Graduation

46%

Student body

4K

Median SAT/ACT

920/17

Petersburg, VA

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What is Virginia State University known for?

Virginia State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Literature
  • Biology
  • Medical
  • Computer Science
#20

Alabama State University

#871 institution's historical influence
#420 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

99%

Graduation

32%

Student body

4K

Median SAT/ACT

950/17

Montgomery, AL

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What is Alabama State University known for?

Alabama State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Political Science
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Medical
  • History
  • Biology
  • Computer Science
  • Social Work
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry

Most Influential Alumni

#21

Alcorn State University

#1258 institution's historical influence
#425 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$7K

Acceptance

38%

Graduation

45%

Student body

3K

Median SAT/ACT

885/20

Alcorn State, MS

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What is Alcorn State University known for?

Alcorn State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Medical
  • Political Science
  • Education
  • Nursing
  • History
  • Biology
  • Literature
  • Communications
  • Criminal Justice
  • Mathematics

Most Influential Alumni

#22

Jackson State University

#1262 institution's historical influence
#257 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$8K

Acceptance

90%

Graduation

44%

Student body

6K

Median SAT/ACT

981/19

Jackson, MS

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What is Jackson State University known for?

Jackson State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Medical
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Literature
  • Computer Science
  • Biology

Most Influential Alumni

#23

University of the District of Columbia

#1068 institution's historical influence

Tuition + fees

$6K

Graduation

23%

Student body

3K

Washington, DC

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What is University of the District of Columbia known for?

University of the District of Columbia’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Literature
  • Law
  • Business
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
#24

South Carolina State University

#1687 institution's historical influence
#544 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

94%

Graduation

30%

Student body

2K

Median SAT/ACT

915/16

Orangeburg, SC

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What is South Carolina State University known for?

South Carolina State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Biology
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Engineering
  • Medical
  • Mathematics
  • Social Work

Most Influential Alumni

#25

Elizabeth City State University

#2240 institution's historical influence
#1017 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$3K

Acceptance

75%

Graduation

43%

Student body

2K

Median SAT/ACT

962/18

Elizabeth City, NC

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What is Elizabeth City State University known for?

Elizabeth City State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Computer Science
  • Education
  • Mathematics
  • Business
  • History
  • Biology
  • Literature
  • Psychology
  • Communications
  • Social Work
#26

Savannah State University

#1957 institution's historical influence
#226 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$6K

Acceptance

46%

Graduation

27%

Student body

3K

Median SAT/ACT

965/17

Savannah, GA

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What is Savannah State University known for?

Savannah State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Biology
  • Education
  • Business
  • Political Science
  • History
  • Social Work
  • Earth Sciences
  • Sociology
  • Chemistry
  • Literature
#27

Virginia Union University

#1390 institution's historical influence
#433 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$14K

Acceptance

75%

Graduation

36%

Student body

1K

Median SAT/ACT

849/15

Richmond, VA

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What is Virginia Union University known for?

Virginia Union University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Religious Studies
  • History
  • Literature
  • Social Work
  • Communications
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry

Most Influential Alumni

#28

Tougaloo College

#1553 institution's historical influence
#538 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$11K

Acceptance

71%

Graduation

40%

Student body

<1K

Median SAT/ACT

865/18

Tougaloo, MS

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What is Tougaloo College known for?

Tougaloo College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Literature
  • Education
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry
#29

Bethune–Cookman University

#6262 institution's historical influence

Tuition + fees

$15K

Acceptance

98%

Graduation

33%

Student body

3K

Median SAT/ACT

925/16

Daytona Beach, FL

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What is Bethune–Cookman University known for?

Bethune–Cookman University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Education
  • Business
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Medical
  • Criminal Justice
  • Engineering
  • Psychology
  • Religious Studies
  • Literature

Most Influential Alumni

#30

West Virginia State University

#1345 institution's historical influence
#996 overall school desirability

Tuition + fees

$8K

Acceptance

89%

Graduation

30%

Student body

2K

Median SAT/ACT

965/19

Institute, WV

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What is West Virginia State University known for?

West Virginia State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

  • Political Science
  • Education
  • Mathematics
  • Biology
  • Medical
  • History
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry
  • Nursing
  • Engineering

Most Influential Alumni

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