This U.S. News ranking measures the quality of the undergraduate education at historically black colleges and universities. These HBCUs were compared only with one another for this ranking. To be on the list, a school must be currently listed as part of the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities registry.

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, 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.”

To qualify for the U.S. News ranking, an HBCU also must be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first-year, first-time students and must be a school that is currently part of the 2019 Best Colleges rankings.


1. Spelman College

Spelman College is a private institution that was founded in 1881. It has a total undergraduate enrollment of 2,171, its setting is urban, and the campus size is 39 acres. It utilizes a semester-based academic calendar. Spelman College’s ranking in the 2020 edition of Best Colleges is National Liberal Arts Colleges, #57. Its tuition and fees are $29,972.