Black Ivy League Schools: What You Need to Know

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Updated:
February 2, 2024
6 min read
Contents

”Rohan

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 2/2/24

Are you curious about Black Ivy League Schools? This article will tell you everything you need to know about them and give you a detailed list of schools that make up the Black Ivy League.

In the past, historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were established to make quality higher education available to African Americans. Historically, HBCUs only admitted Black students; however, today, they accept anyone regardless of race. 

There are over 100 HBCUs in America. From those 100 HBCUs, a select few are considered the Black Ivy League. This article will cover various Black Ivy League schools and what you need to know about them.

What Are the Black Ivy League Schools? 

Black Ivy League schools are the most prestigious historically black colleges and universities in the United States. Black Ivy League schools include:

  • Spelman College
  • Howard University
  • Tuskegee University
  • Morehouse College
  • Hampton University
  • Fisk University
  • Dillard University
  • Clark Atlanta University

These HBCUs aren't formally recognized as "Black Ivy League schools." These colleges were first singled out in Jaqueline Fleming’s Blacks in College book, originally published in 1984.

Typically, these schools attract high-achieving and performing African-American students. Despite its name, the Black Ivy League is not a part of the U.S.'s top eight Ivy League schools

Let’s go into more detail about each of the eight Black Ivy League schools you might be interested in.

Ranked List of Black Ivy League Schools 

Below, we’ll be going over a list of Black Ivy League schools ranked highest to lowest. For a quick overview, here’s admissions data from each school:

School Name Acceptance Rate Average SAT Score Average ACT Score Average GPA
Spelman College 51% 1206 26 3.9
Howard University 51% 1170 23 3.6
Tuskegee University 36% 940-1180 (Total range) 18-25
(Total range)
3.5
Morehouse College 58% 1010-1210 20-25 3.2
Hampton University 36% 990-1170 (Total range) 19-26
(Total range)
N/A
Fisk University 61% 1060-1360 (Total range) 19-26
(Total range)
3.5
Dillard University 56% 960-1120 (Total range) 18-23 (Total range) 3.3
Clark Atlanta University 56% 957 18 3.21

Let’s dive into more information about each of these schools!

1. Spelman College

Spelman College is in Atlanta, Georgia, and was founded in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. It later became a college in 1924 and is the leading college for African American women. Spelman College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). 

Spelman College is ranked #1 in historically black colleges and universities in the U.S, and the top Black Ivy League school. The school only accepts admissions from female applicants. The school offers more than 30 majors

Spelman College campus
Source: Spelman College

The most popular majors are Biological and Biomedical Sciences, English, Physical Science, Psychology, and Social Sciences. 

Spelman College has a competitive admission rate of 51%. Admissions data for the class of 2026 shows the average SAT score is 1217 and the average ACT score is 26. Students reported an average unweighted GPA of 3.9. C

You can find Spelman College admissions requirements here. Tuition at Spelman College is $46,351 for an on-campus student. They do offer financial aid for those who are eligible. 

2. Howard University

Howard University is in Washington, D.C., and was founded in 1867. It's ranked the second-best HBCU in the country and is considered a Black Ivy League school. It is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. They also have the most African American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the U.S.

Howard University is a leader in STEM, with students later earning science and engineering doctoral degrees. They offer over 140 areas of study within 13 colleges and universities. 

Aerial view of Howard University campus
Source: The Dig at Howard University 

Howard University has a competitive acceptance rate of 36%. Class of 2026 admissions data shows the average SAT and ACT scores of admitted students are 1167 and 23, respectively. The average GPA of admitted students is 3.65. You can view admissions requirements here

Tuition alone at Howard University is $32,878. Financial aid is available for eligible students.

3. Tuskegee University

Tuskegee University is in Tuskegee, Alabama, and was founded in 1881. It is ranked #3 the best HBCU in the country and is a Black Ivy League school. Students can join more than 100 groups and organizations on campus. 

Tuskegee University was the first to create a nursing baccalaureate program in Alabama. It is also the top producer of African American aerospace science engineers and engineering graduates in chemical, electrical, and mechanical engineering.

Aerial view of Tuskegee University campus surrounded by trees
Source: Tuskegee University 

Tuskegee University has an acceptance rate of 52%. You can read about Tuskegee University’s admissions requirements on its website. Tuition at Tuskegee University is $19,594 for all students. The school offers financial aid for those who are eligible.

4. Morehouse College

Morehouse College is in Atlanta, Georgia, and was founded in 1867. It is ranked #124 for Best Colleges for National Liberal Arts Colleges and #4 for the best HBCU in the country

It is also considered a Black Ivy League school. Morehouse College only accepts male applicants and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

Picture of a statue in front of a Morehouse College building
Source: Morehouse University 

Morehouse is the only four-year liberal arts institution with a predominately black male student population. Morehouse College has an academic partnership with Clark Atlanta University and Spelman College.

Morehouse College has an acceptance rate of 58%. Admissions requirements include a completed Common Application, teacher recommendations, and more. 

Tuition at Morehouse College is $25,386 for all students. Morehouse College has a National Fellowships and Awards Committee to help students apply for scholarships and fellowships.

5. Hampton University

Hampton University is in Virginia and was founded in 1868 during the American Civil War. It is ranked #7 for best HBCU in the country and a Black Ivy League school. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. 

Hampton University offers over 70 bachelor’s degrees and has 3,000 students in various fields like Liberal Arts, Science, Business, and Engineering

Picture of Hampton University campus with a lake and trees in front of it
Source: Hampton University 

Hampton University has a very competitive acceptance rate of 36%. Students with GPAs above 3.3 (or who rank in the top 10% of their graduating class) don’t need to submit SAT/ACT scores

Tuition at Hampton University is $29,198 for all students. They do offer financial aid for those who are eligible. 

6. Fisk University

Fisk University is in Nashville, Tennessee, and was founded in 1866. It is ranked the #13 best HBCU in the country. The university is rooted in the liberal arts and believes in advancing knowledge through it. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

In 2004, Fisk and Vanderbilt's started the Fisk-Vanderbilt bridge program to help underrepresented groups access Doctorate programs in the STEM fields. NASA, NSF CAREER, and IGERT funded it. 

Fisk University has an acceptance rate of 93%. The average SAT score and GPA of admitted students are 1200 and 3.5. If you want to apply to Fisk University, ensure you satisfy all admissions requirements first. Annual tuition at Fisk University is $21,600. The school offers financial aid for those who are eligible.

7. Dillard University

Dillard University is in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was founded in 1869. It is ranked #14 in the best HBCUs in the U.S. 

It’s accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Academic Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP), and Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).   

Source: Dillard University 

Dillard University’s acceptance rate is 39%. Accepted students had an SAT score between 980 and 1120 or an ACT score between 18 and 24. You can view admissions requirements here

Annual tuition at Dillard University is $19,124. The school offers financial aid to eligible students.

8. Clark Atlanta University

Atlanta, GA

Clark Atlanta University (CAU) is a private university that was founded in 1988 and is ranked #21 in the best HBCUs in the U.S. Offering bachelor's through doctoral programs in 41 areas of study across Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, and Social Work, CAU prepares students for global leadership roles. 

Through innovative teaching, research, and service, CAU aims to have a lasting cultural impact and shape future generations, guided by a commitment to equity and excellence. If you’re thinking about attending CAU, keep in mind the tuition price is $23,484 per year

Take our HBCU Selection Quiz to find the HBCU school for you that's right for you!

FAQs: Black Ivy League Colleges

It's normal to feel overwhelmed and confused when choosing the right Black Ivy League school for you. If you still feel that way after reading this article, hopefully, these frequently asked questions can help you. 

1. Are There Any Black Ivy League Colleges?

Yes, there are Black Ivy League colleges, including Spelman, Morehouse, and others. 

2. Is Howard a Black Ivy League?

Yes, Howard University is a Black Ivy League school. It is also the second most prestigious Black Ivy League school in the U.S. 

3. How Many Black Ivy League Schools Are There?

The original list of Black Ivies comes from a 1984 book and lists the seven schools below. However, there is no “official” list of schools considered Black Ivy League schools because these institutions aren't formally recognized as "Black Ivy League schools.” Other sources may list other HBCUs in their list. 

4. Which HBCU Is The Most Prestigious?

Spelman College is the most prestigious HBCU. Followed by Howard University and Tuskegee University.

5. What University is Known as the Black Harvard?

Howard University has often been referred to as “The Harvard of HBCUs.” 

6. Are There Other Types of Unofficial Ivies?

There are many other groups of “unofficial Ivy League” schools that aren’t a part of the original Ivy League, including: 

Final Thoughts

Black Ivy League schools offer significant opportunities for African American and non-African-American students. Now that you know more about Black Ivy League schools, you can add some to your list if they’re a good fit for you! 

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