Top 10 HBCU Colleges in North Carolina | 2023

Written by Tien Rooney
Published on January 15, 2023 · Updated on March 23, 2023

Top 10 HBCU Colleges in North Carolina | 2023

Written by Tien Rooney
Published on January 15, 2023 · Updated on March 23, 2023

Do you have an interest in attending a historically black college or university (HBCU)? There are 107 HBCUs in the U.S. that can offer you an excellent and affordable college education. In fact, according to UNCF, the average cost to attend an HBCU is 26% lower than other four-year nonprofit schools. 

Moreover, in addition to offering top-notch academic programs, HBCUs have historically provided some of the best supportive resources for first-generation and low-income students. UNCF reports that learners who earn degrees at HBCUs are much less likely to take on significant student loan debt, especially for those from low- and middle-income families. 

Looking for a school in North Carolina? If you’re ready to pursue a college degree in a diverse and supportive academic environment, an HBCU in NC could be the best choice for you. Let’s take a look at some of the best HBCUs in the state to help you get started on your search. Additionally, we’ll offer some financial aid resources to assist you with your preparation.

Best HBCUs in Georgia

1. North Carolina A&T State University

A&T is a public HBCU established in 1891. The school today offers more than 50 undergraduate degrees and 40 graduate programs. It is also regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SASCOC). Notable alumni include Ronald McNair, a NASA astronaut and physicist, and Al Attles, one of the first African-American NBA coaches.

2. North Carolina Central University

Established in 1910, NCCU is a liberal arts HBCU in Durham. The school serves approximately 8,200 students and features an extensive honors program, online course offerings, and evening and weekend degree programs. Julius L. Chambers is a notable alum and civil rights leader who founded the first integrated law firm in the state.

3. Winston-Salem State University

WSSU holds regional accreditation from the SASCOC. This public HBCU was once a one-room institution with 25 students. Today, the school is part of the University of North Carolina System and boasts approximately 5,200 students, more than 40 buildings, and 117 acres. Politicians Carla Cunningham and Lorraine H. Morton are standout WSSU alums.

4. Bennett College

Located in Greensboro, North Carolina, Bennett College is a private HBCU with about 500 students.  With regional accreditation from the SASCOC, the school offers 24 academic majors and 19 minors in math and science, the humanities, social sciences, and education. Notable alums include psychoanalyst Frances Jones Bonner, artist Beverly Buchanan, and a former Greensboro mayor, Yvonne Johnson.

5. Johnson C. Smith University

JCSU is a private HBCU in Charlotte, North Carolina. With regional accreditation from the SACSCOC, the university offers 24 undergraduate degrees and one graduate program. Popular degree programs at JCSU include criminology, political science, psychology, and computer engineering. Student life in the downtown area often includes fraternity and sorority activities and NCAA sporting events.

6. Elizabeth City State University

ECSU is a public HBCU in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. Originally founded as NC General Assembly in 1891, ECSU serves about 2,000 students today. Learners can choose from almost 30 bachelor’s degrees and four master’s programs. Standout majors include digital media studies, homeland security, sports management, and aviation science. 

7. Fayetteville State University

Established in 1867, FSU boasts about 6,000 students and regional accreditation from the SACSCOC. Located in North Carolina, the school is part of the University of North Carolina System. The public HBCU offers more than 40 bachelor’s programs and 23 master’s degrees. Notable alums include professional athletes Darrell Armstrong, Richard Medlin, and Sylvester Ritter.

8. Livingstone College

Livingstone is a Christian HBCU in Salisbury, North Carolina. Established in 1879, the private college offers 22 bachelor’s degrees. Learners can choose from popular majors like biology, mathematics, music, religious studies, and sport management. There is also an associate degree in culinary arts available. Psychiatrist Solomon Carter Fuller and athlete Wilmont Perry are standout alums.

9. St. Augustine’s University

SAU is a Christian HBCU in Raleigh with regional accreditation from the SACSCOC. It was founded in 1867 by the Episopal clergy to help provide formal education for freed enslaved people at the time. The small school serves about 700 students and offers 19 academic majors in areas like theatre, music, education, and STEM fields.

10. Shaw University

Shaw is a private HBCU with 1,300 students in Raleigh. Founded in 1865, the school holds regional accreditation from the SACSCOC and offers more than 20 undergraduate degrees and three master’s programs. In addition to undergraduate degrees in psychology, recreation management, and mass communications, Shaw students can also earn master’s degrees in Christian education, divinity, or early childhood education. Standout alums include lawyer Roger Demosthenes O’Kelly and U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Ezekiel Ezra Smith.

Another notable HBCU that would typically make a list such as this is Barber-Scotia College. Unfortunately, the school currently does not hold regional accreditation at this time. 

If you’re looking for other HBCU’s in North Carolina, check out the Find Your Perfect “U” tool. You can search over 6,000 colleges and universities with 11 different filters to find the perfect school for you!


In order to locate the best HBCUs in North Carolina for 2021, took a data-first approach to ranking the institutions. Our various metrics, data sets, and algorithms give us a transparent view of each school’s graduation rates, admissions statistics, and financial aid resources, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best information here. For a closer look at this ranking methodology, check out the details here.

How Do I Pay For College?

Earning a college degree can be a major expense for just about any student. With the rising cost of tuition, it can be challenging for many students to cover the cost of their education and living expenses, especially if they’re enrolling as a full-time learner. Thankfully you have several options to choose from to help offset the cost of your college degree. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular and advantageous ways to pay for school.

Financial aid for college may come in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, work-study programs, and employer tuition reimbursement programs. Scholarships and grants are the most popular choice, as these awards provide you with free money that does not need to be repaid. Alternatively, many institutions today participate in the federal work-study program, which gives students a flexible part-time job on-campus or in the community to help cover the cost of their education.

Federal and private loans are also an option. Unlike scholarships and grants, however, the money you receive through a loan will need to be paid back with interest. If you choose to take out a loan, federal loans tend to have lower interest rates than private loans. Before enrolling, check with your school’s financial aid department to see if there are any internal financial aid resources available.

Scholarships for Black Students

  1. ACS Scholars Program: Students from underrepresented groups pursuing degrees in chemistry or related fields may apply. Offered by the American Chemical Society, students can receive up to $5,000 per academic year.
  2. EMPOWER Scholarships: Any students from minority populations who are pursuing a career in a medical or rehabilitation field may apply. Funded by the David M. Hersey Endowment Fund of the Courage Kenny Foundation, learners can obtain awards up to $1,500 for school. Applicants need to submit an application outlining academic and career goals as they pertain to the medical or rehabilitation fields.
  3. American Bus Association Diversity Scholarship: Applicants must be from a minority population and enrolled in an accredited institution at the undergraduate level. Preference may be given to applicants studying tourism, hospitality management, accounting, or related fields. Awards for this scholarship are typically $5,000.
  4. Brown and Caldwell Minority Scholarship: Minority students at the junior or senior undergraduate level who are interested in a career that pertains to environmental studies may apply. Common areas of studies for applicants include civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical, and environmental engineering. Applicants should have a 3.0 or higher GPA. The award for this program is usually $5,000.
  5. Ron Brown Scholarship: Reserved for Black and African-American students who are U.S. citizens, this program offers 45-50 four-year scholarships each year valued at $40,000 each. Applicants must be high school seniors planning on attending an accredited four-year institution at the time of the application. also offers an additional list of scholarships for Black and African-American students using our brand new scholarships filter tool.

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