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Staff Writers
Updated March 24, 2021

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African American Student Organizations

  • National Black Student Union (NBSU)
  • Thurgood Marshall College Fund
  • National Black Graduate Student Association
  • National Society of Black Engineers
  • Black Campus Ministries

Students can benefit from a number of African American student organizations, some of which have been operating for many years. Research from the University of Pennsylvania suggests that African-American student organizations can help to reduce attrition and support student development of identity and confidence. Some African-American student organizations are sponsored by professional societies. Other organizations benefiting African-American students focus on diversity, mentoring, networking, and other types of support for African Americans who want to excel in college achievement. Some organizations are focused on students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), while others are national and available on every college and university campus.

National Black Student Union (NBSU)

The National Black Student Union sponsors regional, state, and national forums on issues of importance to black students. Black Student Unions are available on the majority of college and university campuses, and may also sponsor additional diverse organizations based on campus interests and needs. The organizations sponsor corporate and employment opportunities, and encourage students to network and excel in public and private careers. Study abroad programs, research assistance, and STEM career and study aid are among current Black Student Union programs.

Thurgood Marshall College Fund

The Thurgood Marshall College fund supports students at 47 member schools, which include historically-black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and medical and law schools. Although many people believe the organization only provides scholarships, it offers more than just scholarship funds. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund offers career preparation, entrepreneurship programs, global studies, and networking for undergraduate and graduate students, and alumni.

National Black Graduate Student Association

A membership organization for African-American graduate students, the National Black Graduate Student Association assists members with professional development opportunities, career placement services, mentoring opportunities, and conferences on issues related to graduate education and diversity. The National Black Graduate Student Association sponsors an annual conference and offers regional and national conferences. Some recent conferences have focused on research opportunities, fellowships, and grants.

National Society of Black Engineers

With more than 29,000 members, the National Society of Black Engineers is one of the largest student organizations in the United States. The organization began in 1975 and now includes more than 390 college, pre-college, and professional chapters. The National Society of Black Engineers supports the academic and professional growth of African-American engineers through chapters, networking, mentoring, publications and events.

Black Campus Ministries

Black Campus Ministries provides Christian support and fellowship for students at historically-black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and majority colleges and universities. The organization encourages the development of Christian leadership, and on organizing and implementing local, national and global mission related activities. Student members can benefit from social and Christian ministry activities as part of the organization.

Resource: 50 Most Affordable Historically Black Colleges in the U.S.

Many African American student organizations meet diverse student needs and are available at all stages of the education process, from pre-college and college prep to undergraduate and graduate education. Networking, peer support, and conferences are just a part of the programs offered for African American students on college campuses. Some of the largest, most successful professional and college associations, like the National Society of Black Engineers, with over 29,000 members, benefit African American students.

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