50 Best Colleges for African Americans

A solid education, matched with the right opportunities, creates successful collegians. Here are some strategies students should employ as they move from the college campus to the corner office and beyond.

library, as well as a negative effect on grades.

Take advantage of on-campus jobs such as work-study and assistant positions, which allow you to work around your class schedule. A balanced combination of work and school can result in better time management and less procrastination. Make sure you are able to handle your course load before determining if a part-time job is right for you.

RESEARCH SCHOLARSHIPS. Apply for scholarships every year. “The Internet has revolutionized how students learn about college scholarships,” says Baird Johnson, vice president of product and marketing for FastWeb.com, the Internet’s leading scholarship search service. “Over $1 billion in scholarships is awarded each year — much of it earmarked for students with particular backgrounds or unique qualifications. Using a free online search engine such as FastWeb allows college students to search a database of 600,000 scholarships to create a personalized list of scholarship opportunities unique to them.”

COMPARE CREDIT CARD OFFERS. Consider these five elements when choosing a credit card, advises the National Foundation for Credit Counseling: finance charges, annual fees, grace periods, penalty fees, and balanced calculation methods. “Beware of introductory low-interest-rate credit offers,” warns the NFCC. “Frequently, the interest jumps dramatically within six months to a year.” Never sign anything you do not completely understand.

BE FINANCIALLY ORGANIZED. “Debt isn’t the problem; buying decisions are the problem,” says Scott Bilker, author of Credit Card & Debt Management: A Step-By-Step How-To Guide for Organizing Debt & Saving Money on Interest Payments (Press One Publishing; $19.95). “Have a list of all your bills and always pay them on time.” Use the worksheets in Bilker’s book to successfully manage your bills. NFCC members provide free and affordable confidential money management, financial education, budget counseling, and debt management services via in-person and telephone sessions. For more information, call 800-388-2227 or visit www.nfcc.org.

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
A total of 482 colleges and universities were selected based on the following criteria:

1 Accredited four-year colleges or universities with an African American student enrollment of at least 3%.

2 Colleges or universities that did not meet criteria one, but are large or well-known (e.g., the University of Southern California).

The goal was to be as inclusive as possible while targeting schools that would be of interest to black students.

We surveyed 1,855 African American higher education professionals with titles such as president, chancellor, and provost, for their assessments of the social and educational environments of the nation’s colleges and universities for African American students. Each school received a rating from 2 (strongly recommended) to -2 (strongly not recommend

ed) with 0 being neutral. Schools were categorized according to the college classification protocol developed by U.S. News and World Report, which is a modified version of the protocol developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Survey respondents were asked to rate only schools that they were knowledgeable about.

The BE top colleges list was developed by Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D., professor of health policy, management, and sociology at Johns Hopkins University, and CEO of DayStar Research. LaVeist is the author of

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