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HBCU & HSI 101

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If you’re looking to enroll in higher education this year, there’s a lot to consider when choosing a school. But along with degree programs and financial incentives, you’ll want to add “inclusion” to your list of factors.

Whether you’re spending every day on campus or logging into online classes once a week, attending a university that cares about your well-being, inclusion and safety on campus can make all the difference.

Some of the best schools you can attend that prioritize these efforts are HBCUs and HSIs. But what are these schools? And why should you consider them? Here’s what you need to know: 

What Are They?

Also known as minority-serving institutions, these schools are dedicated to certain diverse populations.

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving Black Americans. HBCUs offer all students, regardless of race, an opportunity to develop their skills and talents. These institutions train young people who go on to serve domestically and internationally as entrepreneurs and professionals in both the public and private sector.

HSIs (Hispanic-Serving Institutions) are similar in description, except they are more geared towards the Hispanic and Latinx communities. Established many years later by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), they are defined as an accredited, degree-granting, public or private nonprofit institution of higher education, with 25% or higher total undergraduate Hispanic or Latino full-time equivalent student enrollment.

Schools with one or both of these labels are in no way exclusive to those who do not identify as Black or Hispanic, allowing anyone to attend. 

The Statistics

As of 2023, there are currently 107 HBCUs in the United States, collectively enrolling more than 228,000 students. Over 60% of HBCUs are public institutions, with an even higher percentage identifying as a four-year program. While HBCUs are scattered across the country, most of them can be found on the eastern side of the nation.

Concerning HSIs, there are currently over 570 designated schools across the United States. In Fall 2021, about 4.6 million were enrolled at HSIs, with half of those students identifying as Hispanic or Latinx. While many of the schools are located across the nation, with a third of HSIs existing in California; they can also be found in Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.

Why You Should Attend

As mentioned before, HBCUs and HSIs tend to have higher populations of Black and Hispanic/Latinx populations than other schools. Usually, this means that the staff and student populations at these schools are more aware of the experiences, needs and issues surrounding these communities. As these schools accept students of all races, it also may lead to an increase of diverse students, allowing for a higher influx of differing ideas and experiences to be shared amongst students.

Additionally, HBCUs and HSIs are more likely to provide resources that are specifically beneficial to Black and Hispanic students. These resources may include scholarship opportunities, specialty clubs and extracurricular activities and classes that focus on more specific cultural and racial topics. Schools who prioritize diversity might also be more prone to handling matters of racial bias and discrimination to a higher standard.

The Top Colleges to Consider

According to BestColleges, here are the top-rated HBCUs and HSIs in the country for you to consider:


  • Spelman College: Atlanta, GA
  • Howard University: Washington, D.C.
  • Florida A&M University: Tallahassee, FL
  • Tuskegee University: Tuskegee, AL
  • Morehouse College: Atlanta, GA


  • University of Texas-Austin: Austin, TX
  • University of California-Irvine: Irvine, CA
  • Texas A&M University: College Station, TX
  • University of California-Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara, CA
  • University of Central Florida: Orlando, FL

Explore more articles for the Hispanic Community here.

The post HBCU & HSI 101 appeared first on DiversityComm.

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