Top 10 HBCUs with the Highest Median Earnings

By DeShaun Bennett

With student enrollment numbers decreasing, the cost of attendance increasing, and loan qualification tightening, students and families are becoming more concerned with the financial return on their investments when deciding what college to attend. Using the public data produced by the U.S Department of Education College Scorecard, below are the top 10 HBCUs with the highest median earnings for undergraduate students 10 years after entering school.

1. Bowie State University – Bowie, MD – $47,000

BSU MSI Lineup

Bowie State University, a public 4-year institution located in the suburban city of Bowie, MD, has stellar cyber security programs. The cyber security programs were recognized as a National Center for Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Bowie State has many great initiatives taking place. It’s first signature program, Education Innovation Initiative, provides work experience for students to develop technology-based solutions to real-world problems of local corporations.


2. Xavier University of Louisiana – New Orleans, LA – $46,500


Xavier University of Louisiana, a private 4-year Roman Catholic school located in the Crescent City, is one of only two pharmacy schools in Louisiana. Xavier’s College of Pharmacy is among the nation’s top four producers of African American Doctor of Pharmacy degree recipients. Xavier is also the No.1 ranked pre-medical program in the nation to produce African-American graduates who go on to complete medical school. Around 43% of Xavier students are either in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program or the Physical Science program.


3. Howard University – Washington, D.C – $46,500

Howard MSI Lineup

Howard University is a private, four-year university in Washington, D.C. Howard’s most popular academic programs include Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, and the college is the top producer of Peace Corp volunteers.


4. Spelman College – Atlanta, GA – $ 46,400

Spelman MSI

Spelman College, one of two all-women HBCUs, has been recognized among the top 100 national liberal arts colleges and is the no. 1 ranked HBCU for the third straight year, according to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report “Best Colleges” rankings. Spelman also topped the list as the No. 1 producer among small schools that provide alumni for Teach For America.


5. Hampton University – Hampton, VA – $42,200


Hampton University in Hampton, VA is known for its stellar Psychology and Health Professions Programs. Home of the Pirates, Hampton has graduated notable African-American trailblazers like Booker T. Washington and Douglas Palmer, the first African-American mayor of Trenton, NJ. In 2011, Hampton University was listed in the top 10 rankings in the Research Category for master’s universities in the Washington Monthly College Guide.


6. Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA – $40,900


Morehouse College, the nation’s only all-male institution founded with the purpose of bettering African-American men, strives to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service. Morehouse’s 10th president, Rev. Dr. Robert Michael Franklin, created the “Five Wells,” an ideal to cultivate men of Morehouse as “Renaissance men with social conscience and global perspective” who were Well-Read, Well-Spoken, Well-Traveled, Well-Dressed and Well-Balanced. Morehouse has many notable alumni including Martin Luther King, Jr., Maynard Jackson, and Edwin C. Moses.


7. Morgan State University– Baltimore, MD – $39,700


Morgan State University is a 4-year public institution in Baltimore, MD. Morgan State awards more bachelor’s degrees to African-Americans than any other institution in the state. Morgan State accounts for large percentages of engineering and science degrees received by African-Americans in Maryland.


8. University of Maryland Eastern Shore– Princess Anne, MD – $37,800

University of Maryland Eastern Shore MSI Lineup

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) is a land-grant HBCU founded in 1886 as the Delaware Conference Academy. UMES’s most popular academic programs include Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services. UMES offers 26 major programs, 13 teaching degree programs, and 8 pre-professional programs.


9. Coppin State University– Baltimore, MD – $37,600 

Coppin State University

Coppin State is a public urban liberal arts university. Coppin’s most popular programs are related to Health and Health Professions. Coppin has also offers the Black Male Initiative Task Force, a core group of students, faculty, and staff who meet regularly to strategize and plan initiatives to improve the retention rates of black male students.


10. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University– $37, 300 


Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU), a 4-year public university, is the no. 1 producer of African Americans with baccalaureate degrees. Graduates in FAMU’s pharmacy, public health, and nursing programs previously achieved 100 percent passage rates on their respective professional licensure examinations.

6 HBCUs Promoting Global Studies – With Guest Writer Louis Bolling

Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights six HBCUs that promote global studies and international partnerships and serve as institutions that develop global citizens.

1) Alcorn State University, Office of Global Programs

Dr. Dovi Alipoe, Alcorn State University’s Director of Global Programs (left) and Roland Rich, Executive Head of the United Nations Democracy Fund, (right).

Through its Office of Global Programs (OGP)Alcorn State offers students unique and rewarding international experiences and general global understanding, both in other countries and on campus. Alcorn State has cooperative agreements with several international universities for faculty, student and research exchange ranging from universities in Russia to Nicaragua. Students have successfully maintained a Model UN Club and the Mississippi-based university also facilitates a United Nations lecture series hosting UN dignitaries.

2) Delaware State University, Office of International Affairs

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Delaware State University students representing international diversity within the student body.

Delaware State University’s Office of International Affairs (OIA) has a mission of integrating a global perspective into the teaching, research, and study abroad programs of the institution. Delaware State (DSU) was one of 17 recipients of the Obama Administration’s First in the World grants, selected out of more than 300 applicant institutions. In addition, OIA host lecture series as part of the ongoing partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund aimed to bring more international programming to HBCUs.

3) Morgan State University, Center for Global Studies and International Affairs

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Dr. David Wilson, Morgan State University President (seated in the center) with students of the Division of International Affairs.

Morgan State University (MSU) has established over 30 international relationships with universities in various countries. MSU’s Center for Global Studies and International Education houses the iPal Program which consists of a matching program designed to partner international and domestic students studying at MSU for the purpose of a cultural exchange and building friendships. Morgan State has long been a Fulbright leader among HBCUs with students having received a total of 136 Fulbright-related grants for study, research, and teaching in 44 different countries. MSU also offers global programming through its School of Global Journalism and Communication.

4) Savannah State University, International Education Center

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The Confucius Institute at Savannah State University launch ceremony.

The International Education Center (IEC) at Savannah State University promotes and supports efforts to internationalize the university’s curriculum and to help expose students to our global society. One of IEC’s initiatives, The Confucius Institute at Savannah State University, is committed to promoting intercultural understanding, knowledge of China and its cultural traditions, and providing resources to facilitate the learning of Chinese language and culture. IEC’s other work includes a Model United Nations, a Model African Union, and the Ghana Group Project Abroad program, which exposes the historically significant relationship between Savannah, Georgia, a major port city in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, and the West Coast of Africa.

5) Texas Southern University, The Confucius Institute

Chinese dragons are a symbol of China and are believed to bring good luck to people.
Chinese dragons are a symbol of China and are believed to bring good luck to people.

The Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University (TSU) serves students, faculty, staff and community members by fostering exchange and cultural dialogue. The first of its kind in the greater Houston metropolitan area and one of 226 centers worldwide, the Institute focuses on increasing employment opportunities for Texas Southern students through language training, cross-cultural exchange and professional development programs. The Confucius Institute at Texas Southern University maintains a strong partnership with Beijing Jiatong University and the Chinese Consulate.

6) Tuskegee University, Tuskegee University Global Office

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Former Tuskegee, Alabama Mayor Omar Neal welcomes participants to the third International Food and Nutrition Conference at Tuskegee University in 2011.

Tuskegee University Global Office (TUGO) aims to graduate global-minded citizens who are truly prepared to apply their talents. The Global Education Fair is one of the Office’s highlights in addition to international performances, guest speakers, undergraduate research presentations, and study abroad opportunities. TUGO currently partners with 18 institutions in 13 countries to provide various forms of humanitarian and agricultural resources. Tuskegee has hosted the Global Youth Innovation Network (GYIN)/Tuskegee University Summit, a Tuskegee University-Phelps Stokes partnership initiative designed to expose college students and young entrepreneurs to the Tuskegee University.

9 Award-Winning Authors Who Attended MSIs

By Briana O’Neal

For years, writers have used literature as a tool to reflect the experiences of their race and impact of their culture. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up features 9 award-winning authors who attended MSIs and used their writing to give a voice to the underrepresented communities in which they were raised.

1) Toni Morrison – Howard University

Toni Morrison’s works of fiction span several time periods and pay homage to the Black experience in America. Among several other accolades, Morrison holds the 1988 Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award as well as the 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature. She earned her B.A. in English from Howard University in 1953.

2) Rudolfo Anaya – University of New Mexico

Heavily influenced by the Chicano Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, this University of New Mexico alumnus is a Mexican-American author whose writing is known for its Chicano themes. He is hailed as the most widely read author in Hispanic Communities, best known for his book Bless Me, Ultima. “I write for my New Mexican community,” he says, “the Spanish-speaking world, but also for the entire world.” His novel Albuquerque received the PEN-West Fiction Award in 1992.

3) Paula Gunn Allen – University of New Mexico

Paula Gunn Allen is a Native American author who received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of New Mexico and was a professor of Native American and Ethnic Studies. She is credited as the “founding mother of the contemporary women’s spirituality movement” and has published several works of poetry and fiction. These have earned her several awards, including the Native American Prize for Literature.

4) Amy Tan – San Jose City College and San Jose State University

Tan was born in Oakland, California to Chinese immigrants. Her choice of college was a source of contention with her mother, who wanted Tan to attend a Baptist school as a pre-med student. Tan decided instead to attend two AANAPISIs: San Jose City College and San Jose State University where she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in English. Tan’s mother was a huge influence on her writing. The Kitchen God’s Wife (named Booklist Editor’s Choice) was inspired by her mother’s early life, and her most famous book, The Joy Luck Club (winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewer’s Award, among others), is a reflection of her rocky relationship with her mother.

5) Octavia Butler – California State University, Los Angeles

Butler began her academic journey at Pasadena Community College, an HSI, and eventually enrolled at California State University, Los Angeles. She went on to become one of the most well-known female science fiction writers with over 10 awards under her belt, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. Noting a lack of Black characters in the science fiction genre, Butler resolved to change that. “The only black people you found were occasional characters or characters who were so feeble-witted that they couldn’t manage anything, anyway,” she said. “I wrote myself in, since I’m me and I’m here and I’m writing.”

6) Gary Soto – Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno

This Mexican-American author’s academic career was shaped by his attendance at two Hispanic Serving Institutions—Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno. Soto graduated in 1974 with a B.A. in English and is known for both his poetry and fiction. In 1999, he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

7) Janet Campbell Hale – City College of San Francisco

As a Native American writer, Hale’s works discuss issues of poverty, abuse, and women in Native American culture. Hale began her academic journey at the City College of San Francisco and has received several fellowships. Her book The Jailing of Cecelia Capture received a Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1985.

8) Ralph Ellison – Tuskegee University

Ralph Ellison attended Tuskegee University (known then as Tuskegee Institute) to study music in 1933, but the Great Depression rendered him unable to afford the tuition for his senior year. He then began writing a series of essays and shorts stories and eventually made a name for himself as an influential twentieth century African American author. In 1953, he won the National Book Award for his novel Invisible Man, which addresses issues of racial identity for African Americans in the mid-twentieth century.

9) Ana Ludia Vega – University of Puerto Rico

“I believe that everything we are affects our writing. My being Puerto Rican shows up in my writing,” says Ana Ludia Vega, a distinguished Puerto Rican writer who graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and writes in her native language. Vega has been recognized nationally and internationally for her work.

7 HBCUs Founded by Faith-Based Organizations – With Guest Writer Louis Bolling

Post-Civil War America, also known as the Reconstruction Era, led to more than 4 million slaves being declared freed. The church, pre-and-post Civil War, increasingly became one of the strongest sources of institutional support for former slaves and oppressed African people in America. Church basements turned into centers of education, as well as serving as sites for spiritual development, political gatherings and social engagements. To pay homage to this history, Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up celebrates the faith-based pasts of the following HBCUs:

1. Paul Quinn College (African Methodist Episcopalian)

Paul Quinn College is the oldest Historically Black College in Texas. In 1872 the African Methodist Episcopalian (A.M.E.) Church founded the Connectional School for the Education of Negro Youth in Austin as a means to provide education to former slaves. In 1881, the college was chartered by the state of Texas and officials renamed the school for Bishop William Paul Quinn, a Methodist missionary. Quinn, born in Calcutta, India, was the fourth Bishop of the A.M.E. Church which was founded in Philadelphia.

2. Virginia Union University (Baptist)

image (1) After 1865, teachers and missionaries from the American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) arrived in Richmond, Virginia. For nearly three decades, these missionaries used the basement of Ebenezer Baptist Church to educate newly freed slaves, preparing them to become teachers and preachers. Following the surrender of the Confederacy in 1865, branches of the National Theological Institute in Washington, D.C. and Richmond decided to establish separate schools in Richmond to educate freed slaves. In 1899, these separate ABHMS institutions would merge to become Virginia Union University.

3. Morehouse College (Baptist) 

image (2) In 1867, two years after the Civil War ended, Augusta Theological Institute was established in the basement of Springfield Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia. Founded in 1787, Springfield Baptist is the oldest independent African-American church in the United States. The school’s primary purpose was to prepare black men for ministry and teaching. Today, Augusta Theological Institute is known as Morehouse College, which is located in Atlanta and has an international reputation for producing leaders who have influenced national and world history.

4. Shaw University (Baptist)

image (3) Shaw University was founded in 1865 by the American Baptist Home Mission Society of the Baptist Church to provide a theological education to freed Blacks. A theological class formed in the old Guion Hotel by Dr. Henry Martin Tupper, founder and first president of Shaw University, led to its creation. Elijah Shaw, a benefactor who gave the largest single contribution toward the construction of the university’s first building, became its namesake. At the same time the name of the school was changed to Shaw Collegiate Institute. This remained until 1875 when the school was chartered and incorporated by the State of North Carolina under the name of Shaw University.

5. Oakwood University (Seventh-day Adventist)

image (4) When the Seventh-day Adventist Church decided to educate Black students in the South, they established an industrial school in 1896, which became Oakwood College in 1943. The mission of Oakwood University, a historically black, Seventh-day Adventist institution, is to transform students through biblically-based education for service to God and humanity. Later renamed Oakwood University in 2008, the institution is the only Black university owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

6. Xavier University of Louisiana (Catholic)

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Wanting to give Black and Native American children in the South the Catholic-oriented education she thought they lacked, Katharine Drexel, a Philadelphia heiress turned Catholic nun and later saint, used her inheritance to open a high school for these students in 1915. Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament added Xavier University of New Orleans, a four-year college, in 1925. A private, coeducational historically black university located in New Orleans, Louisiana, Xavier University is the only HBCU affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.

7. Florida Memorial University (Baptist) 

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Florida Memorial is the result of a merger between two Baptist institutions: Florida Baptist Institute, established by the Black Baptists of Florida in Live Oak in 1879, and the Florida Baptist Academy, established in Jacksonville, Florida in 1892. The university endeavors to instill in students the importance of becoming global citizens through Christian principles, academic excellence, and service to humanity.

10 MSI Faculty Kicking Breast Cancer’s Butt through Research – With Guest Writer Shawna Patterson

Although October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’d like to keep the conversation going in November and beyond since it is a salient topic among communities of color. For Black and Latina women, being diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly the most aggressive subtype (Triple-Negative Breast Cancer), has greater implications than any other ethnic group. Today’s Monday Morning MSI Line Up highlights faculty at Minority Serving Institutions who are conducting research in efforts to address this lethal disease.

1. Ibrahim O. Farah, Jackson State University (HBCU)


A professor in Biology at Jackson State University, Ibrahim is broadly interested in exploring cancer biology in addition to understanding the mechanisms involved in the development of diabesity and cancer phenotypes. Dr. Farah also seeks to understand the implementation of natural/endogenous biotherapeutics as it relates to cancer treatment. He has authored several publications regarding cancer, but has also received accolades for his work on breast cancer. His publications include “D-Glucose-Induced Cytotoxic, Genotoxic, and Apoptotic Effects on Human Breast Adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) Cells” and “Association of pesticide exposure and risk of breast cancer mortality in Mississippi.”

2. Chowdhury Faiz Hossain, East-West University (AANAPISI)


Dr. Chowdhury Faiz Hossain is a professor in the Department of Pharmacy. Hossain has published several articles on biological processes but his publication, “Mitochondrial DNA mutations–candidate biomarkers for breast cancer diagnosis,” has received much acclaim.

3. Digna S. Forbes, Meharry Medical College (HBCU)

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Dr. Forbes is an associate professor and the Associate Dean for Medical Education in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy, and Cell Biology in the Meharry Medical College School of Medicine. A trained pathologist, Digna Forbes is primarily interested in examining molecular biology of premalignant and malignant breast disease among African American women.

4. Ali B. Ishaque, University of Maryland Eastern Shore (HBCU)

UMES- Natural Sciences

Ishaque, an associate professor of Environmental Science at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, has been awarded over $300,000 in grants from the National Cancer Institute. He was also recognized for his cancer research, evidenced through an award he received from the University of Maryland Partnership in Cancer Research and Outreach. One of his more recent abstracts, “Genotoxic effect of individual and mixture of atrazine, arsenic, cadmium and nitrate, at maximum contaminant level on breast cell lines,” discussed the reactions between compounds and breast cancer cells.

5. Stan Ivey, Delaware State University (HBCU)


Dr. Ivey, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, actively receives grants to conduct cancer research. Funding sources include the Cancer Federation, the Department of the ARMY, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Much of his work centers on the exploration of ovarian cancer, however, Stan Ivey has also conducted research that examines the metastases in breast cancer cells.

6. Yasmine M. Kanaan, Howard University (HBCU)

Kanaan, an assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology at Howard University, focuses on breast cancer research and anticancer drug discovery. Dr. Kanaan is well-published. Many of her pieces, including, “Cytotoxic effects of a novel dicloronaphthoquinone analogue on human breast cancer cell lines,” “Inherited BRCA2 mutations in African Americans with breast and/or ovarian cancer: a study of familial and early onset cases,” and “Estrogen receptor/progesterone receptor-negative breast cancers of young African-American women have a higher frequency of methylation of multiple genes than those of Caucasian women” have received attention in the field. 

7. Dana Marshall, Meharry Medical College (HBCU)


Dr. Marshall is an associate professor in the Department of Pathology, Anatomy and Cell Biology in the Meharry Medical College School of Medicine. She has completed extensive research on breast cancer, specifically as it relates to underrepresented populations. Her publications include, “Analysis of preliminary questionnaire from the Breast Cancer in African Women Study,” “Structural mass spectrometry of tissue extracts to distinguish cancerous and non-cancerous breast disease,” and “Challenges unique to the design of a comprehensive questionnaire assessing breast cancer risk factors among women in sub-Saharan Africa.”

8. Michelle M. Martínez-Montemayor, Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine (HSI)


Dr. Martínez-Montemayor is an associate professor of Biochemistry at the Universidad Central del Caribe. She is interested in studying breast cancer invasion, metastasis, and cancer cell survival. She has conducted several tests, including “Whole mushroom Reishi extract reduces inflammatory breast cancer progression via E-cadherin inhibition” and “Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) inhibits cancer cell growth and expression of key molecules in inflammatory breast cancer.”

9. Checo Rorie, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (HBCU)


Rorie is a rising scholar in the area of triple negative breast cancer research. He is currently an assistant professor of genetics in the Department of Biology at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Recently, Dr. Rorie examined differential expression among microRNA within triple negative breast cancer and healthy breast cells. Additionally, he published, “Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cell Lines with TP53 Mutations are Able to Undergo Cell Death” and “Cancer Associated MicroRNAs are Differentially Expressed in Triple Negative Breast Cancer and Normal Breast Cells.”

10. Maureen Sanderson, Meharry Medical College


Sanderson is a full professor at Meharry Medical College, where she specializes in cancer research. She has an expansive publication repertoire. Recently, Dr. Sanderson published scholarship centering on the relationship between vitamin consumption and reductions in mammographic breast density among premenopausal women. In addition to this work, Sanderson conducted the following studies: “Urinary isoflavone concentrations and breast cancer among Mexican-American women,” “Factors influencing breast cancer screening in low-income African Americans in Tennessee,” and “Associations of hormone-related factors with breast cancer risk according to hormone receptor status among white and African American women.”