of less than 50%, because they benefited from having higher black enrollment numbers.
Celebrating its 125th anniversary, Spelman has consistently ranked in the top five of our listing. “After attending a predominantly white school all of my life, I chose to go to Spelman College for the social change,” says Aarica J. Blackett, a third-year economics major. “My senior year in high school, I was a debutante for the Links Incorporated. The more and more I bonded with these girls, the more I realized how much potential I had to become more than what I was.” More than 83% of full-time Spelman faculty hold doctoral degrees. In addition, the school offers rich cultural programs such as The Sumiko Takahara Japan Studies Program, in which students can study Japanese history and culture.
According to Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D., CEO of DayStar Research and the compiler of the list, the reason for so many changes has less to do with any one variable than with the combination of all of the new adjustments. Several historically black colleges and universities, such as Johnson C. Smith and Clark Atlanta universities, which had been on the list since its inception in 1999, didn’t make the cut.
CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
To develop the 2006 be 50 Top Colleges for African Americans list, we surveyed more than 500 African American higher education professionals including presidents, chancellors, and directors of student affairs for their assessments of the social and academic environments for African American students at the nation’s colleges and universities.
A total of 1,423 colleges met our criteria based on their status as accredited four-year colleges with African American student enrollments of at least 3%. In addition, schools needed to have enrollment data submitted with the U.S. Department of Education. Each school was rated on a five-point scale from 1 (strongly recommend) to 5 (strongly don’t recommend).
The schools were sorted into seven categories: historically black colleges and universities, national universities, national liberal arts colleges, regional universities in the Northeast and Midwest, regional universities in the South and West, regional liberal arts colleges in the Northeast and Midwest, and regional liberal arts colleges in the South and West. The list was derived using the following variables:
Black student graduation rate
Average survey score for the school’s academic environment
Average survey score for the school’s social environment
Total black undergraduate enrollment
Black undergraduate students as a percentage of total undergraduates (credit for this variable was capped at 50% for hbcus)
Ranking on the 2004 BE Top Colleges list
The criteria was established by be and Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D., CEO of DayStar Research. The variables given the heaviest weighting were black graduation rate, followed by the average academic and social environment scores.
|2006 Rank||Colleges & Universities
|Type of School||Tuition In
/Out of State*
|1||Florida A&M University,
|www.famu. edu||44.2||43.8||11,450||10,731||46%||Public||$2,958/ $14,949|
|www. howard. edu||43.3||42.6||7,112||5,975||62||Private||12,295|
|3||North Carolina A&T State Univ., Greensboro, NC||www.ncat.edu||42.0||41.6||9,121||8,409||43||Public||3,114/
|www. hamptonu. edu||42.8||41.5||5,315||4,980||54||Private||14,182|
|www. stanford. edu||35.7||45.4||6,555||698||92||Private||31,200|
New York, NY
|www. columbia. edu||36.2||42.1||7,233||511||90||Private||33,246|
|9||University of Pennsylvania,
|www. upenn. edu||36.8||43.6||11,958||790||90||Private||32,364|
|www. wesleyan. edu||38.6||47.1||2,777||190||90||Private||32,976|
|www. dickinson. edu||38.3||43.3||2,321||88||100||Private||32,120|
|www. wellesley. edu||38.0||42.0||2,289||135||95||Private||31,348|
|www. amherst. edu||38.9||45.6||1,640||148||91||Private||32,395|
|www. duke. edu||34.7||43.1||6,301||682||86||Private||31,420|
|www. smith. edu||43.3||43.3||2,692||153||95||Private||30,754|
New York, NY
|www. barnard. edu||38.6||40.0||2,287||112||100||Private||30,676|
|17||Tennessee State University,
|www. tnstate. edu||40.0||39.6||7,257||5,896||47||Public||4,414/
|18||Georgia State University,
|www. brown. edu||36.7||43.5||6,014||383||93||Private||32,974|
New Haven, CT
|22||Wake Forest University,
|www. wfu. edu||40.0||42.9||4,128||249||89||Private||30,210|
|www. babson. edu||38.3||37.1||1,697||56||100||Private||30,496|
|25||Florida State University,
|www. cornell. edu||31.2||41.5||13,625||634||88||Private||31,467|
|27||Prairie View A&M University,
Prairie View, TX
|www. pvamu. edu||38.8||38.8||6,324||5,795||46||Public||4,906/
|28||Jackson State University,
|www. jsums. edu||40.0||38.5||6,605||6,388||40||Public||3,964/
|www. oberlin. edu||41.1||47.8||2,837||175||78||Private||32,724|
|30||North Carolina Central
University, Durham, NC
|www. mills. edu||42.0||43.3||762||68||89||Private||29,990|
|32||University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill, NC
|www. unc. edu||37.6||40.0||16,525||1,794||70||Public||4,613/
|www. grinnell. edu||38.3||44.0||1,556||61||91||Private||27,060|
|34||Morgan State University,
|www. morgan. edu||40.4||38.8||6,243||5,782||39||Public||6,110/
|35||University of Virginia,
|www. virginia. edu||30.6||41.9||14,129||1,193||87||Public||7,370/
|36||Mount Holyoke College,
South Hadley, MA
|www. mtholyoke. edu||41.3||45.0||2,143||88||82||Private||32,598|
|www. emory. edu||38.6||42.1||6,346||585||78||Private||30,794|
|www. princeton. edu||32.8||44.4||4,678||385||90||Private||31,450|
|www. swarthmore. edu||38.6||48.6||1,474||96||82||Private||31,516|
|40||University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI
|www. temple. edu||37.3||37.3||23,429||4,666||53||Public||9,640/
St. Louis, MO
|www. morehouse. edu||41.5||42.6||2,891||2,731||49||Private||16,016|
|46||Johns Hopkins University,
|www. dartmouth. edu||30.4||40.4||4,079||274||91||Private||31,770|
|www. northwestern. edu||30.5||38.6||9,115||498||90||Private||31,789|
|50||University of Maryland,
College Park, MD
50 Top Colleges for African Americans
Guide to College Financing
Now that you know the 50 top Colleges for African Americans, how do you go about paying for such top-notch educations? This was certainly an issue for Michael Adams and his family. Before Michael enrolled at Princeton University, his parents sat down to figure out how they were going to afford the $31,000-a-year college education.
“We worked out a budget. My salary goes to paying his schooling and his sister’ school loans,” says Karen Adams, while her husband, Edward, covers the household bills. “We were sending Michael to private high school, so we couldn’t really save anything,” Karen explains.
To prevent students from graduating with thousands of dollars in debt, Princeton funds education primarily through grants and offers loans only to parents. Karen admits that she was initially surprised by the school’s “Graduate Debt Free” promise, “but the way they have it set up, and how they handle financial aid compared to other schools, is pretty good,” she says.
The Adamses took out $80,000 in loans to divide over four years. They make a monthly payment of $628 because Princeton doesn’t allow parents to defer payment.
While Michael was still in middle school, the Adamses paid off their home using money from Karen’s 403(b) in preparation for his private schooling. “I know you’re not supposed to do that, but I knew I would pay myself back,” Karen says.
Although using retirement money to pay