A recent study conducted by the United Negro College Fund makes it clear: the positive economic impact of Georgia’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) is undisputable, significant, and lasting. Whether they’re generating over 12,000 jobs or boasting an economic impact of over $1 billion, these HBCUs are a vital part of Georgia’s economy and higher education landscape.
Below we spotlight the best HBCU colleges in Georgia. Additionally, we look at a common and pressing question: How do I pay for college? We also highlight several scholarships geared towards Black students. Keep reading to learn more about these historically vital schools and see who stands out.
Universities.com prioritizes an objective, data-first approach to ranking schools. Utilizing our college ranking algorithm and various metrics and data sets, areas of particular attention include graduation rates, financial resources, and admissions statistics. You can check out a deeper dive into our ranking methodology here.
Best HBCUs in Georgia
1. Spelman College
Based in Atlanta, Spelman College is a private liberal arts HBCU with a history dating back to 1881, founded as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. Spelman has over 2,000 students and confers degrees in areas spanning from art history to environmental studies. Notable alumni include influential political activist Stacey Abrams and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker.
2. Morehouse College
Arguably one of the more recognizable names within historically Black colleges, Morehouse-educated heavyweights like Martin Luther King, Jr., Spike Lee, and Samuel L. Jackson. This private men’s liberal arts college was founded in 1867 and offers 32 different majors along with various online degrees and certificate programs.
3. Clark Atlanta University
Founded in 1865, CAU is a private HBCU and research university with nearly 4,000 students. In addition to renowned past faculty like W.E.B. DuBois, the school was also home to CAU graduates and Civil Rights icon Ralph Abernathy. Offering one of the most comprehensive rosters of academic degrees in Atlanta, Clark U is also home to one of the best MBA programs in Georgia.
4. Fort Valley State University
Since 1895, Fort Valley State University has built a reputation for academic excellence and a dedication to service. Serving more than 2,500 students, popular majors include criminal justice, management, and veterinary technology. Utilizing a co-curricular framework, FVSU is consistently ranked as the best public HBCUs in Georgia.
5. Savannah State University
This public, Georgia-based HBCU was founded in 1890 and is home to nearly 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to regional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), Savannah State holds programmatic accreditation in areas spanning from engineering to public affairs. Savannah State is the largest producer of Black marine sciences graduates in the United States.
6. Paine College
Located in the heart of Augusta, Georgia, Paine College is a small, private HBCU associated with both the United Methodist and CME churches. In addition to offering various majors covering topics like business administration, history, and sociology, Paine is also home to the Center for Advanced Professional Studies, providing academic services to working adults, military service members, and returning students.
7. Albany State University
With an enrollment of over 6,000 students, Albany State University is one of the larger HBCUs and offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. Additionally, Albany State provides a substantial list of technical certificates and associate degrees. ASU is also home to their Summer Success Academy, a weeks-long residential program designed to prepare recent graduates in their transition between high school and college.
8. Interdenominational Theological Center
The largest Black theological school in the United States, ITC is a consortium of five Christian seminaries in Atlanta. Accredited by the SACSCOC and the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada (ATS), ITC focuses solely on conferring graduate degrees, including an M.A. in religion and education, an M.A. in liturgical arts and culture, and a doctor of ministry. The school’s master of divinity is offered both on-campus and online.
9. Morehouse School of Medicine
MSM is a private medical school in Atlanta initially established in 1975 as part of Morehouse College. An independent school since 1981, MSM offers various medical-based degrees, including M.D., master’s in public health, and physician assistant programs. In addition to on-campus options, the Morehouse School of Medicine offers an online executive master of public health and biotechnology master’s degrees.
Morris Brown College, another Atlanta-based HBCU, isn’t counted in our rankings until they re-secure accreditation. That said, since losing regional accreditation in 2002, Morris Brown has made strides in re-establishing itself with the help of outside investments and accreditation through the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS).
How Do I Pay For College?
70% of college students leave school with significant debt to the tune of around $30,000. And while college requires a considerable investment of time and money, students do have access to many financial aid options. From scholarships and grants to government and private loans, college students can take advantage of an expansive list of ways to offset the cost of higher education.
In addition to more traditional financial aid options, students pursuing careers in public service can sometimes take advantage of loan repayment programs. Work-study programs also help reduce your financial burden, and knocking out general education requirements at a community college can significantly diminish future loan repayments.
Scholarships for Black Students
The Black Scholarships database is a useful place to start when searching for scholarships, acting as a financial aid clearinghouse aimed at Black and other students of color. Another helpful resource is hbcuconnect.com—this site connects HBCU students and graduates with scholarships, career services, and internships. We’ve highlighted several annual scholarships below.
Universities.com also helps students sift through thousands of available scholarships through our scholarship search.
- Tom Joyner Foundation “Hungry for Education” Scholarship Program—This community service scholarship offers ten $2,500 awards each year. Applications are open to any individual currently enrolled at an HBCU.
- William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fellowship for Minority Students—Designed for students interested in a nonprofit career, applicants must demonstrate excellent research and writing skills.
- The Jackie Robinson Foundation Scholarship Program—Offered to graduating high school seniors, JRF scholars receive generous grants up to $30,000. Recipients attend an annual leadership conference in New York while also having access to study abroad programs.
- The Development Fund for Black Students in Science and Technology—This endowment fund offers scholarships to HBCU undergraduate students pursuing degrees in STEM fields. Renewable for four years, students receive up to $3,000 annually.
- Apple HBCU Scholars Program—In partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Apple offers a $15,000 merit-based scholarship and invites award winners to participate in a 12-week summer internship.