Most Affordable Historically Black Colleges In The U.S.

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Historically Black Colleges

By BVS Staff

Historically black colleges and universities were first established soon after the Civil War when Southern states still practiced segregation in schools. These HCBUs, as they have come to be known, provided places for freed African Americans to earn a quality education. Today, there are over 100 historically black colleges and universities in the United States, and they continue to support African American students as they pursue excellence in their respective fields. These are the 50 most affordable.

Top 50 Affordable Historically Black Colleges In The U.S.

  1. Simmons College of Kentucky
    Location

    Louisville, KY

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1879 as the Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute, Simmons College of Kentucky was one of the first post-secondary institute for African-Americans in the community. Like many early schools for black students, the curriculum started as a simple teacher and pastor education program. However, the foundation was quickly set for a dramatic expansion of the curriculum. Today, this extremely affordable historically black college offers AA degrees in general and religious studies, as well as a handful of BA programs such as sociology, music, and cross-cultural communication.

  2. Coahoma Community College
    Location

    Clarksdale, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Coahoma Community College was originally founded as an agricultural high school in 1924 and was the first agricultural high school in Mississippi created for African-American students under the "separate but equal" doctrine. It was also the first institution for black students in Mississippi to become eligible to share funds appropriated by the state legislature for public junior colleges. Today, this highly affordable historically black college offers several programs of study, including over 50 university-parallel associate's degree programs, as well as a handful of health science programs and career and technical education programs.

  3. Mississippi Valley State University
    Location

    Itta Bena, MS

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Mississippi Valley State University was founded in 1946 to provide vocational training and educate future elementary school teachers. The scope of its curriculum expanded quickly to include BS degrees in 14 subject areas, and in 1976, MVSU offered its first master's degree. Today, even more academic programs are available on both the bachelor's and master's level. Its most popular majors are education, business, public administration, and law enforcement. No matter which program students choose at this affordable historically black college, the curriculum is designed to thoroughly prepare students for life after college and provide students with a wide range of future education and career opportunities.

  4. Gadsden State Community College
    Location

    Gadsden, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Gadsden State Community College serves over 6,000 students on six campuses in three Alabama counties. Its Valley Street Campus has been designated as an HBCU campus. It was formally established in 1960 as the Gadsden Vocational Trade School, a private vocational training school for Black Americans. Until desegregation, it was the only technical school enrolling Black Americans in Alabama. In 1985, the vocational trade school merged with Gadsden State. The Valley Street Campus offers courses in Marketing Management, HVACR, Carpentry, Message Therapy and Nursing Assistant. Students can earn a certificate, short-term certificate or associate degree at Gadsden State.

  5. Bishop State Community College
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    As one of the most affordable historically black colleges in our ranking, Bishop State Community College started in 1927 as a Mobile branch of Alabama State College. Its original purpose was to offer extension courses to African-American teachers in the region. In 1965, it became an independent junior college. Since then, Bishop has expanded to four campus locations in the Mobile area. Its most popular programs are its technical and career programs, but it still offers strong academic degree programs in subjects such as social sciences, developmental education, and health related professions.

  6. St. Philip's College
    Location

    San Antonio, TX

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    One of the oldest and most diverse community colleges in the US, St. Philip's College is the only college that is both a historically black college and Hispanic-serving institution. It was founded in 1898 as a normal and industrial school for recently freed black girls. In 1902, Artemisia Bowden, the daughter of a former slave, joined the school administration, and under her leadership, the school rapidly grew into a thriving junior college. Since then, this affordable historically black college has continued to grow and now offers almost 70 associate's degree programs, as well as several certificate programs.

  7. J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College
    Location

    Huntsville, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    J.F. Drake State Community and Technical College is a two-year technical public institution that was founded in 1961 by Governor George Wallace to support the career education needs of African-Americans in the community. It is the first and only institution of its kind in the State of Alabama, and it provides both university-transfer and technical degrees that heavily emphasize hands-on learning. While it is one of the smaller historically black colleges and universities on our list with only about 500 students enrolled full-time, it still is able to offer several unique degree programs. Some of Drake State's most popular programs are Business Administration, Practical Nursing, Medical Assisting, and Welding Technology.

  8. Trenholm State Community College
    Location

    Montgomery, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Trenholm State Community College is a multi-campus institution formed by the consolidation of two technical schools that were founded in the mid-1900s. While its technical certificates and workforce training programs are still a major part of Trenholm's curriculum, the college has expanded to offer university-parallel associate's degree programs that can be easily transferred to four-year institutions. All programs affiliated with this affordable historically black college are taught by highly qualified faculty with field experience, so whether students opt for the college's technical programs, its health programs, or its academic programs, they can expect to receive a high-quality education.

  9. Denmark Technical College
    Location

    Denmark, SC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Denmark Technical College was founded in 1947 as part of the South Carolina Trade School System and was mandated to train the local African-American community in a variety of trades. Since then, it has become a strong two-year institution that offers several programs of study. These include college transfer programs, associate degree programs, and technical certificates. Small class sizes are prioritized at this affordable historically black college, so students can benefit from individualized attention from faculty and an environment conducive to meaningful class discussion.

  10. Lawson State Community College
    Location

    Birmingham, AL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Lawson State Community College as it is known today was created by two mergers. The first merger was between Wenonah State Junior College and Wenonah State Technical Institute, which came together in 1973 under the Lawson State Community College name. This merger created an institution that offered both career technical education and university-parallel academics. The career technical division was strengthened in 2005 when another school, Bessemer State Technical College, merged with Lawson State. Today, students enrolled in this affordable historically black college are able to choose from an impressive range of programs that meet their personal needs, whether they are interested in construction careers, health professions, social sciences, or business.


  • Methodology: Here's How We Rank Schools


    At Best Value Schools, we help students of all ages get the best possible value for their education. When choosing the best schools and programs, we prioritize tuition rates, student debt, financial aid opportunities, graduation rates, and the availability of online programs.
    We source unbiased data from government and educational databases like the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for 6,374 schools across the U.S. We organize that data into five weighted categories to compile our school rankings.

    Metric Data Used Percentage
    Academic Quality Full-time faculty percentage, student-to-faculty ratio, student retention and graduation rates 25%
    Affordability Tuition rates, median student debt, and financial aid 35%
    Reputation Admission and enrollment rates 15%
    Program Offerings Number of program options 10%
    Online Enrollment Score Portion of learners taking at least one online course 15%

    You can read more about our comprehensive evaluation process on our methodology page.


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Best Value Historically Black Colleges and Universities Best Value Historically Black Graduate Schools in the U.S. Best Minority Colleges And Universities In America

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Our editors consulted College Navigator to identify the 50 most affordable historically black colleges and universities in the United States. We list them here in order of affordability based on net price.

Additional Resources

Use articles and resources to uncover answers to common questions, get guidance on your goals, and learn about applying to schools.


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