Historically Black Colleges and Universities, commonly known as HBCUs, have been an essential part of America’s higher education system since the Reconstruction era. These institutions offer a unique educational experience rooted in African American culture and values while providing students with an outstanding academic learning environment.
With several HBCUs located across the United States, Florida is no exception. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to HBCU colleges in Florida, their history, their unique offerings, and how they can help shape your future.
What are HBCUs?
HBCUs were established to provide quality higher education opportunities for black students who were previously denied admission to predominantly white universities due to their race. The first HBCU, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania was founded in 1837.
These institutions train students from diverse backgrounds but primarily enroll African American students; however, they also welcome people of all ethnicities and cultures. They offer undergraduate and graduate degree programs in various fields such as Business Administration, Education, Engineering, Law, and Medicine.
According to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), there are currently 101 accredited HBCUs in the United States serving over 300K students annually. Still struggling today with funding issues that often plague schools serving predominately minority populations who tend to have fewer resources.
Why attend an HBCU?
Attending an HBCU offers several benefits that traditional universities may not always provide:
Heritage & Legacy
HBCUs have played a significant role in shaping African American history and culture since their inception. Students who attend these institutions get a chance to learn about Black-American history while being immersed in an environment that celebrates cultural diversity.
HBCUs often have smaller class sizes than larger institutions making it easier for professors to offer individualized attention to each student. Additionally many HBCUs offer support services like tutoring, counseling, and career development to help students achieve success in their academic and professional careers.
HBCU campuses are often full of successful black alumni that can provide mentorship and guidance to current students. This allows students to connect with professionals in their field of study and learn from them firsthand.
Although HBCUs primarily serve African American students as stated before, they welcome people of all ethnicities creating a uniquely diverse college experience compared to predominantly white institutions where the percentage of minority students may be lower.
HBCU Colleges in Florida
Florida is home to three accredited HBCUs – Florida A&M University (FAMU), Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU), and Edward Waters College (EWC).
Florida A&M University (FAMU)
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, commonly referred to as FAMU, was established in 1887. It is one of the largest HBCUs in the nation, located in Tallahassee, Florida’s capital city. The institution offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs across various disciplines such as agriculture, arts & sciences, business & industry, education & social sciences engineering and computer science.
One impressive aspect about FAMU is its thriving research culture that has propelled it into the national spotlight. Its faculty members have received millions of dollars’ worth of research grants over recent years making strides toward modernization through technology advancements.
Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU)
Bethune-Cookman University located in Daytona Beach was founded by Mary McLeod Bethune back in 1904; it is known for its strong commitment to academic excellence for more than a century. The university offers undergraduate degrees across various fields such as business administration, liberal arts, education engineering and music among others.
B-CU also offers Master’s degree programs for those who want to continue their education beyond an undergraduate degree. In addition to its academic programs, the university is active in athletics, and it regularly competes at the NCAA Division I level.
Edward Waters College (EWC)
Edward Waters College located in Jacksonville was founded in 1866 as one of Florida’s first HBCUs. It’s a private liberal arts institution that serves around 800 students across a variety of fields including business administration, criminal justice, education and natural science, among others.
One unique aspect about EWC is that they offer an accelerated nursing program for students wanting to enter the nursing field quickly. This program is known for producing exceptional nurses who are sought after by hospitals and healthcare facilities.
How to Apply to HBCUs in Florida
Applying to an HBCU is similar to applying to any other college or university. Students need to submit their academic transcripts along with standardized test scores like SAT or ACT scores. Additionally, prospective students will need to write application essays showcasing their personal achievements and potential contributions towards the campus community.
It’s essential for applicants interested in attending one of Florida’s HBCUs to research each school thoroughly beforehand; visit each institution’s website or attend open houses and virtual tours available now due to current circumstances brought by the pandemic situation worldwide.
Attending an HBCU in Florida can be an exceptional opportunity for students looking for a unique educational experience rooted in African American culture and values that can carry forward into your career paths. Regardless of whether you’re looking for rigorous academic programs or diverse cultural experiences, all three institutions discussed here have something special offer their respective student communities.
The legacy of historically black colleges and universities dates centuries back but still plays a vital role today educating individuals from underrepresented populations throughout our nation. These schools continue striving towards ensuring present-day future leaders receive the best possible education which includes supporting ways outside of academics while fostering development opportunities on campus leading them toward better preparedness for the next stages of their lives.
What exactly are HBCU colleges in Florida?
HBCU stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. These are institutions of higher education that were founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the express purpose of serving African American students.
How many HBCU colleges are located in Florida?
There are a total of four HBCUs that can be found within the state of Florida.
What types of degrees do these schools offer?
Each of the four HBCUs in Florida offers a wide variety of degrees including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and even doctoral degrees.
Are all HBCUs in Florida public institutions?
No, two of the four HBCUs – Florida Memorial University and Edward Waters College – are private institutions while Bethune-Cookman University and FAMU (Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University) are public schools.
Which is the oldest HBCU in Florida?
The oldest HBCU in Florida is Florida A&M University which was established back in 1887.
What types of majors can I study at an HBCU college in Florida?
Majors vary depending on which school you choose to attend but some popular programs offered at these institutions include nursing, engineering, business, criminal justice/legal studies, biology and psychology among others.
Can non-African American students attend an HBCU college in Florida?
Yes! While these schools were originally founded with African-American students specifically in mind, they welcome all types of students to enroll regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Is it more affordable to attend an HBCU college compared to other schools?
Typically yes! It’s often more affordable to attend an HBCU thanks to the various scholarship opportunities and funding programs available.
What are some famous alumni of HBCU colleges in Florida?
Just a few notable alumni include; Robert “Bob” Hayes (Florida A&M University/Olympic medalist), Tarell Alvin McCraney (Miami’s New World School of the Arts/Playwright-writer of “Moonlight”), Soledad O’Brien (Harvard-Westlake School/anchor of CNN Newsroom).
Can I get involved in campus activities or clubs at HBCUs in Florida?
Yes! As with any college, there are always plenty of ways to get involved on campus such as joining student-run clubs, participating in intramural sports leagues or attending events hosted by your school.