Top 10 Historically Black Colleges by Starting Average Salary

Historic Prairie View A&M University, Texas' second oldest public university.

Historic Prairie View A&M University, Texas’ second oldest public university.

Many students choose their school based on location, cost and school reputation, but it’s important to remember that your degree is a stepping stone toward a fulfilling career. One often overlooked statistic is the average salary earned by graduates. While you might assume that a degree from the most expensive, selective or prestigious school will offer graduates a higher average salary it turns out that this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, of the top 10 historically black colleges (ranked by starting average salary) the least expensive school offers graduates the highest average salary.

Average Salary: Consider the Return on Your Investment

Two important things to notice in these rankings are the total enrollment and the tuition of each of these schools. Don’t simply choose a school based on average earnings … consider if you’ll be more comfortable in a smaller school or a larger school and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each size. If you learn better in smaller classes with a stronger sense of community enrolling in a smaller school could allow you to excel and position you for success upon graduation.

Concerning tuition, consider this: if you have to take out a number of student loans to pay for a lofty tuition over four years will you be able to afford to pay your loans upon graduation? Consider the percentage of your annual salary which, upon entering the workforce, will be siphoned toward repaying your tuition. Some students attending an expensive school could expect over $900 each month in loan payments within years of graduation. How will this affect your quality of life after you subtract monthly rent, utilities and the cost of food from your monthly income? Only you can decide what sort of life you want to have but keep in mind that higher education is a prelude to the rest of your life. Choose the school that’s right for you, but do so with your eyes open and be realistic about what you can expect as a return on the investment you’re making. If you do you’ll be well ahead of many of your peers!

Top 10 Historically Black Colleges by Starting Average Salary

Rank College Name Average Salary Tuition Location
1 Prairie View A&M University $49,300 $4,062 Prairie View, TX
2 Bowie State University $46,400 $4,547 Bowie, MD
3 Hampton University $46,300 $16,888 Hampton, VA
4 Tuskegee University $44,700 $17,070 Tuskegee, AL
5 Morehouse College $44,200 $21,616 Atlanta, GA
6 Xavier University of Louisiana $42,300 $16,900 New Orleans, LA
7 University of Maryland Eastern Shore $41,900 $4,362 Princess Anne, MD
8 Howard University $41,700 $19,150 Washington, DC
9 Morgan State University $41,500 $4,540 Baltimore, MD
10 Southern University and A&M College $41,400 $5,074 Baton Rouge, LA

Keep Perspective About Average Salary Statistics

Maintain some perspective when reading these rankings. It’s important to remember that graduates in different fields of study can expect to earn more or less than each average salary listed above. Teachers in a rural school, for example, may start out earning less than $30,000 per year while a graduate in finance or economics who earns a job on wall street could expect to earn significantly more. When choosing a school don’t forget to evaluate the particular program you plan to study (including faculty members, special facilities offered on campus, etc.) and choose a school that offers you both a rich undergraduate experience and the opportunity to have a fulfilling career after graduation.

Source: The College Database, Directory of U.S. Colleges ( U.S. College & University Rankings: 34 Historically Black Colleges That Pay.

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  1. Charlie says

    Im wondering how these results were calculated. I don’t remember reporting my salary after I graduated from Morehouse, and most of my department [and friends for that matter] went to graduate and professional school. I went to med school, so I guess they counted me for $0.00 a year?

    • RWW says

      The National Clearing House collects all kinds of data, each school is assigned a number and all data is collected against that number. When corporations report their new hires with income data that info goes against the school that you attended, nothing new.

      • Frankw says

        The data is obviously incorrect. National Clearing House doesn’t have the data to support this because most the schools listed don’t have the data to support this (i’ve worked at a few listed). It seems more like an argument for attending smaller HBCUs than an accurate assessment of post-graduation success. As noted in one of the comments schools like Howard, Hampton and others send far more students to graduate school post graduation than prairie-view, the resulting incomes after graduate school are significantly higher (many of the law students begin at 80 grand and up) so I don’t see thats factored in. The incomes are listed as 0.0? It doesn’t seem fair to measure a first year lawyer’s salary against teacher or sales associate, so I doubt they do that, but then its disingenuous to suggest the avg. starting salary for a Hampton graduate is 40 grand when the stronger students continue education or take internships or other low paying positions with high rising professional networks.

  2. T says

    Pretty surprised to see that Morehouse was number 5. Morehouse’s business program produces some of the most dynamic and sought after professionals in the job market. Google, Deloitte, Delta, JP, BMO are all major recruiters on campus. I can’t speak for any of the other programs but I do know that business is booming. (Class of 11′)

  3. CC says

    BSU! Take into account the cost of tuition as well. Most of these starting salaries are about the same, but when you consider the financial obligations of students loans, it all makes sense as to why BSU and Prairie beat out the other “more prestigious” institutions.

  4. says

    The sad thing is a lot of us would be making more if we were paid based on the knowledge and skills we posses opposed to any other reasons

  5. says

    Aye aye ayeee Bowieeee! I think you have to take into account the location of these schools (I can’t speak for #1) but as a Bowie alumna, I know that the cost of living in DC is much higher than a lot of the other cities listed. With that in mind, salaries in the DMV are higher. I can honestly say that 46,000 in DC probably does not get you the same that it would in Atlanta or Charlotte.

    On the same token, I’ve experienced A LOT of people in the DMV who went to “big name schools” and know absolutely nothing. I’m an auditor. Being at lil’ ole Bowie State, we weren’t afforded some of the best recruiting or newest teaching methods. So we had to compensate by being on top of our sh!t. I cannot say that for a lot of other accountants I meet. So, it may simply be what you know, as well. This may account for Howard being lower. (In addition to that tuition ya’ll pay.)

    Class of ’12

    • David says

      Prairie View is a great university located just outside of Houston, TX. We have a great business program, one of the best engineering programs, nursing programs, and science programs. Houston is known for Oil & Gas and one of the best medical centers in the country. When you think about its a lot of Oil & Gas companies located in Houston such as; Shell, Chevron, Citgo, Valero, Phillip 66, Halliburton, Marathon Oil…I can go on and on. All of these companies look for people with engineering degrees and accounting degrees which is what our school is known for. Far as Nursing, our nursing program in located in the Medical center in downtown Houston so they study and train with the best. Prairie View have and still are producing productive people so it does sounds about right. Also you can see the tuition is the least expensive out of ALL the schools that is listed in the top ten.

      • Dr.EB says

        Thank you. Prairie View A&M has been doing that for a long time. I am not all that surprised that it is at the top of the list. Also, a lot of students go to graduate and med school after finishing from Prairie View. I did it after I finished from PV during the ’90s.

  6. TonyP says

    If the majority of the students are majored in liberal arts or teaching, then it makes sense that the average salary for that school will be lower vs a school where the students are more likely to choose computer science or engineering.

  7. TonyP says

    For those, who are curious. Here is the next 10

    11 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University $41,000 $3,100 Tallahassee, FL
    12 South Carolina State University $40,700 $8,688 Orangeburg, SC
    13 Norfolk State University $39,700 $3,380 Norfolk, VA
    14 Winston-Salem State University $39,400 $2,670 Winston-Salem, NC
    15 Delaware State University $39,300 $6,226 Dover, DE
    16 Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University $39,100 $5,328 Normal, AL
    17 Virginia State University $38,700 $4,406 Petersburg,VA
    18 Bethune-Cookman University $37,100 $13,996 Daytona Beach, FL
    19 Bluefield State College $37,100 $4,908 Bluefield, WV
    20 Grambling State University $37,000 $3,460 Grambling, LA


    • nubiannel says

      It seems that location must be a factor in this calculation. Texas pays their teachers a higher salary than most other states.

  8. Cassandra B says

    As a PVAMU graduate (1988) and a HOWARD UNIV. alumni, I am happy to see both of my schools made the top 10…

  9. Julius N. says

    Glad to see Bowie State on the list. However, it’s important to keep in mind the locations all these schools are located in. BSU is only a bus+subway ride away from DC. DC as many know, is one of the costliest cities in America in terms of living. Thus, the salaries in DC and surrounding areas are substantially higher. At the same time, there is a plethora of internship opportunities within the region and those same opportunities certainly contribute to higher salaries for many BSU graduates.

  10. Ednin says

    What matter most is your major. All colleges don’t offer engineering, Vet Med, Architecture, Nursing (to name a few), the top paying job. The HBCU I attend do not offer these majors. I like doing adminstrative work so my major is Business Administration. When I graduate I am not going to make the same salary a person with a degree in Nursing.

    I don’t agree with this article at all.

  11. DeAndre Jones says

    Hamptonians represent…and now a grad school at Prairie View A&M! Top HBCU’s in the country :)

  12. Lanie says

    As a proud graduate of Prairie View A&M University of Texas, where my husband, brother and oldest daughter are also alumni and Hampton University, where our youngest daughter is a 2008 graduate…I am pleased with the quality education these fine institutions have and continue to provide our family. GO PVU!!!

  13. Apollo says

    How are u coming up with these salaries based on a bachelors? Unless you are in IT, these salaries are not accurate.

  14. Awillia3 says

    I really disagree with these findings. I know for a fact that FAMU, Texas Southern, And any other school that has Pharmacy and engineering graduates kids with much higher salaries than this. Until the actual data that was calculated is provided this article is FLAWED! Were they getting info from certain companies? Provide details –


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