Black Colleges and Universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the black community. There are over 105 Black Colleges Universities in the united states today including public and private, two-year and four-year institutions, medical schools and community schools. Most of them are or were in the former slaves states. Some of these colleges closed during the 20th century due to competition, the great depression and financial difficulties.
Most Black Colleges and Universities were established after the American civil war although some like Wilberforce university, Lincoln university(Pennsylvania) were established for blacks. The higher education act of 1965 defines “part B institution” as any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964 whose principle mission was and is the education of black Americans. Part B of the federal act provides for direct federal aid to part B institutions.
In 1863, the Morrill Act provided for land grant colleges in each state some institutions in the west or north were open for black people since the civil war. However some states in the south excluded blacks from their colleges. The second Morrill Act of 1890 was passed to require states set separate land grant for Black Colleges and Universities and thus many Black Colleges and Universities were established as a result of the second Morrill Act.
The higher education Act of 1965 established a program for direct grants to Black Colleges and Universities including federal matching of private contributions. Other educational institutions have large number of blacks in their students body but opened doors or were founded after rulings by the U.S supreme court.
In 2004 the US department did a research and established that as of 2001, Black Colleges and Universities accounted for 13% of higher education enrolment and in 2007, Thurgood Marshall College established that in 400 companies and government agencies 13% of the graduates were recruited from Black Colleges and Universities while 87% were recruited from non-black colleges and universities.
Of the over 100 Black Colleges and Universities institutions in America, 27 offer doctoral programs while 52 provide degrees. At the undergraduate level, 83 of the schools offer a bachelors degree while 38 of these schools offers associate degrees.
The number of bachelors degrees awarded to black students by Black Colleges and Universities has reduced from 35% in 1976 to 21.1% in 2001 where by enrollment grew from 180,000 to 220,000 with most of this increase being attributed to growth of female black students 88,379 to 117,766.
In 1975, Jake Ayers Sr filed a lawsuit against Mississippi for allocating more funds for the pre-dominantly white schools and in response the court agreed to direct over $503 million to Black Colleges and Universities collectively for 17years
Following the enactment of Civil Rights Laws in the 1960s, all the educational institutions that receive federal funding have taken affirmative action to increase their racial diversity. Some historically black colleges have non-black majorities.Black Colleges and Universities have formed a library alliance and together with Cornell university have a joint program to promote digitization of Black Colleges and Universities.
Additionally, increasing number of Black Colleges and Universities are offering online education programs. As of November 2010, 23 of the Black Colleges Universities offer online degree programs.