2021 All-Star

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Fact Sheet

Quick facts about HBCUs

Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington is the only current NBA player who graduated from an HBCU, having attended Tennessee State University. (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

  • HBCUs are institutions established prior to 1964 with the principal mission of educating Black Americans.
  • HBCUs were created in response to segregation in higher education.  From 1837 to the early 1900s, Black leaders worked with faith leaders, philanthropists, the Freedmen’s Bureau and the government to establish dozens of HBCUs, educating thousands of Black doctors, attorneys, teachers, elected officials, artists and business leaders.
  • Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1837, was the first HBCU.
  • Today, there are 101 HBCUs with more than 228,000 students enrolled.
  • 9% of all Black college students are enrolled at HBCUs.
  • More than 75% of students at HBCUs rely on Pell Grants and nearly 13% rely on PLUS Loans to meet their college expenses.
  • Nearly 90% of HBCUs are in the South.
  • There are six HBCUs in Atlanta – Clark Atlanta University (1865), Spelman College (1881), Morehouse College (1867), Morris Brown College (1881), Morehouse School of Medicine (1975) and the Interdenominational Theological Center (1958) – all of which will be represented in-arena on Sunday.  Together, they are called The Atlanta University Center Consortium.  For a list of HBCUs in each state, please click here.
  • In addition to academic excellence, HBCUs are known for their rich traditions, vibrant campus culture, marching bands, and legacy of community service.
  • Greek-letter organizations are also active on HBCU campuses, including the Divine Nine members of the National Pan-Hellenic Council: Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Kappa Alpha Psi, Omega Psi Phi, Delta Sigma Theta, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Iota Phi Theta.
  • Notable HBCU graduates include Stacey Abrams, Chadwick Boseman, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, W.E.B. DuBois, Althea Gibson, Vice President Kamala Harris, Langston Hughes, Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gladys Knight, Spike Lee, Thurgood Marshall, Toni Morrison, Lionel Richie, Wilma Rudolph, Stephen A. Smith, Michael Strahan, Booker T. Washington, and Oprah Winfrey.
  • Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covington (Tennessee State University) is an HBCU alumnus and several former NBA players attended HBCUs, including Earl Lloyd (West Virginia State), Sam Jones (N.C. Central), Earl Monroe (Winston-Salem State) and Willis Reed (Grambling State).  Currently, there are more than 15 league office employees who are also HBCU alumni.