HBCU Rankings 2023: The Top 25 Black Colleges from U.S. News

Last Updated on April 22, 2023

A female African American HBCU student poses while smiling and holding her book in her arms.

The HBCU Rankings 2023 guide has been published on the U.S. News and World Report website. The organization compiles a ranking of the best historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the country each year.

The mission of U.S. News & World Report is to aid high school and college students in making informed decisions about their higher education by publishing accurate and reliable rankings of colleges and universities.

HBCUs have a long and rich history in the United States, dating back to the mid-1800s

In a country that still practiced segregation after the Civil War, HBCUs were crucial to the advancement of African American higher education. We honor these institutions today for the crucial role they played in the development of black politicians, educators, medical professionals, and more.

Today, more than 100 HBCUs continue to serve as hubs for students of color and resources for local communities in the United States, each with its own unique culture and welcoming environment.

Noteworthy Rankings Changes from the Previous Year

Before we dive into the HBCU Rankings 2023 stats, let's review the major position shifts from 2022.

Tuskegee University overtakes Xavier University for the No. 3 spot. 
Tuskegee University has been ranked as the third best HBCU in the country for 2023. Tuskegee also moved up from number 17 to number 6 on the list of “Regional Universities in the South” for the year 2023. 

“It is an honor to see Tuskegee University increase in its rankings to be recognized as the number three HBCU in the nation… This is a testament to the outstanding work that we have done to enhance our student outcomes and the quality of our academic program offerings.”

Charlotte P. Morris, Tuskegee University President

Delaware State University becomes the No. 2 public HBCU in the U.S.
Success indicators show Delaware State University's progress. Most notable is a 40% expansion over the last decade, helped by the historic acquisition of Wesley College, the expansion of the Inspire Scholarship, and significant increases in the university's online and graduate profiles. The University welcomed 1,700 freshmen this fall, its largest class ever, and is trending toward its largest enrollment ever.

“At Delaware State University, we are not obsessed with rankings; we, like all of our sister institutions, are obsessed with students and their desire to change their life trajectories—for themselves, their families, and their communities.” 

Tony Allen, Delaware State University President

Bowie State University is among the top 20 HBCUs for 2023.
Bowie State moved up six spots from last year and was also ranked as one of the best schools for students who need money. The university moved up 35 spots and is now number 41 on the list of Top Performers in Social Mobility for regional universities in the north. It is also one of the best public universities in the north.

“Bowie State’s rise to the Top 20 HBCUs recognizes the impact of our campus-wide focus on our strategic plan, ‘Racing to Excellence'.”

Aminta H. Breaux, Bowie State University President

HBCU Rankings 2023: The Top 25 Historically Black Colleges and Universities

*Schools tied for HBCU Rankings 2023

23Elizabeth City State University*Elizabeth City, NC
23Clark Atlanta University*Atlanta, GA
23Alcorn State University*Lorman, MS
22Lincoln University (PA)Lincoln University, PA
19Winston-Salem State University*Winston-Salem, NC
19Norfolk State University*Norfolk, VA
19Jackson State University*Jackson, MS
18Bowie State UniversityBowie, MD
17University of the District of
Washington, DC
16University of Maryland, Eastern
Princess Anne, MD
14North Carolina Central University*Durham, NC
14Dillard University*New Orleans, LA
12Tougaloo College*Tougaloo, MS
12Morgan State University*Baltimore, MD
11Fisk UniversityNashville, TN
9North Carolina A&T State University*Greensboro, NC
9Claflin University*Orangeburg, SC
8Delaware State UniversityDover, DE
7Florida A&M UniversityTallahassee, FL
6Hampton UniversityHampton, VA
5Xavier University of LouisianaNew Orleans, LA
4Morehouse CollegeAtlanta, GA
3Tuskegee UniversityTuskegee, AL
2Howard UniversityWashington, DC
1Spelman CollegeAtlanta, GA

HBCU Rankings 2023: Criteria to be Included in the List

The school must also be an undergraduate, degree-granting institution that enrolls mostly first-year, first-time students, be currently designated as an HBCU by the U.S. Department of Education, and be in the Best Colleges rankings for 2022–2023 in order to be listed in the U.S. News rankings.

U.S. News and World Report Rankings Methodology

Additionally, the colleges and universities that were included in the rankings ought to have been included in the Best Colleges rankings from the previous year.

The HBCU Rankings 2023 published by U.S. News and World Report are typically determined using both qualitative and quantitative criteria.

Student retention, evaluations, financial resources, graduation rates, student debt, and other factors are among the criteria.

All together, 77 HBCUs that could have been on the list were included in th HBCU Rankings 2023. Schools that place in the top three-fourths of the 77 HBCUs that are ranked show their individual ranks. The bottom quartile of the ranking range is shown for the remaining schools, which are listed in alphabetical order. One eligible HBCU is unranked.

Visit U.S. News & World Report's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Rankings page at https://www.usnews.com/best-colleges for more information and a full list of all 77 eligible schools included in the HBCU Rankings 2023, and how they were chosen. 

Source: U.S. News & World Report, updated on December 30, 2022. 

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