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The 6 HBCUs in Louisiana: Which is Right For You?

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Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) play an integral role in the education of African Americans in the U.S. According to UNCF, while HBCUs represent just 3% of the nation’s colleges and universities, they produce roughly 20% of all African-American graduates (25% of African-American graduates in STEM fields). The majority of the country’s 100+ HBCUs are found in the South, Midwest, and Midatlantic, and six HBCUs call Louisiana home. If you’re interested in learning more about the HBCUs in Louisiana, keep reading. 


The 6 HBCUs in Louisiana Arkansas


1. Grambling State University 


Location: Grambling, LA  

Acceptance Rate: 97%  

Undergraduate Enrollment: 4,300


Grambling State University opened on November 1, 1901, as the “Colored Industrial and Agricultural School,” by a group of Black farmers who wanted to bring higher education to African Americans in northern Louisiana. Today, Grambling State University is one of the top producers of African-American graduates in the U.S. and the top generator of Computer Information Science graduates in Louisiana. In total, Grambling offers 41 degree programs in fields ranging from accounting to visual and performing arts. 


Grambling is well-known for its former football coach, Eddie Robinson—one of college football’s winningest coaches—who is memorialized with a museum to his legacy on Grambling’s campus. Coach Robinson’s Grambling career stretched from 1941-1997, over which time he won nine Black College National Championships. More importantly, more than 80% of Coach Robinson’s players graduated. 


2. Southern University and A&M College


Location: Baton Rouge, LA

Acceptance Rate: 42% 

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,800


One of the oldest and largest HBCUs in Louisiana, Southern University and A&M College (SUBR) was founded in 1880 and houses more than 5,000 students on its campus. SUBR academics are divided into six schools: 


  • College of Agricultural, Family, and Consumer Sciences
  • College of Business
  • Nelson Mandela College of Government and Social Sciences
  • College of Humanities and Interdisciplinary Studies     
  • College of Nursing and Allied Health
  • College of Sciences and Engineering


SUBR is among the top producers of African-American students with undergraduate degrees in engineering, but is best known for its renowned marching band, dubbed “Human Jukebox.” Human Jukebox is considered one of the best marching bands in the nation and has played at five Super Bowls and three Presidential inaugurations.


3. Southern University at New Orleans  


Location: New Orleans, LA 

Acceptance Rate: N/A  

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,900 


Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO) is one of the youngest HBCUs in the nation, founded in 1956 as a branch of Southern University and A&M College—together, the two schools, along with Southern University at Shreveport, make up the world’s only Historically Black College and University system. SUNO is divided into three schools:


  • College of Arts and Sciences 
  • College of Business and Public Administration 
  • School of Social Work 


Today, SUNO is thriving, but not all that long ago its future was murky. Hurricane Katrina flooded all 11 of the university’s buildings, student enrollment declined dramatically, and the number of programs offered was reduced. 

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4. Southern University at Shreveport


Location: Shreveport, LA 

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Undergraduate Enrollment: N/A


Founded in 1964, Southern University of Shreveport (SUSLA) is one of the youngest HBCUs in the nation—through the Higher Education Act of 1965, HBCUs were officially defined as institutions of higher learning that were accredited and established before 1964, and whose principal mission was the education of Black Americans. SUSLA was founded as, and remains today, a two-year college—it offers 15 associate degrees and three certificates of technical studies.


5. Dillard University  


Location: New Orleans, LA 

Acceptance Rate: 1,300  

Undergraduate Enrollment: 65% 


Louisiana’s first HBCU, Dillard University, was founded in 1869. A liberal arts school with an affiliation to the United Methodist Church and the United Church of Christ, spirituality is at the foundation of the Dillard experience—the university’s motto is Ex Fide Fortis, our strength comes from our faith.


Dillard University ranks fifth among all selective private colleges on the New York Times overall mobility index, a measurement showing the likelihood of a student moving up two or more income quintiles. In addition to strong academics and facilitating great outcomes, Dillard University is a gorgeous place to attend college—Cosmopolitan Magazine ranked Dillard 45th on its 2020 list of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses


6. Xavier University of Louisiana


Location: New Orleans, LA  

Acceptance Rate: 60%    

Undergraduate Enrollment: 2,400 


Xavier University is the country’s only historically Black and Catholic university—it was founded in 1925 by Saint Katharine Drexel and the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. It is also one of CollegeVine’s Top 10 HBCUs. Xavier University of Louisiana is well-regarded for its STEM programs—it leads the nation in awarding bachelor’s degrees to African-American students in the biomedical sciences, the physical sciences, and physics—but liberal arts are the backbone of a Xavier education. 


One of the best values in education, Xavier University of Louisiana ranks ninth on the New York Times overall mobility index and is fulfilling its mission to serve the underrepresented Black population and the “the promotion of a more just and humane society.” 


What are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Your odds of getting into an HBCU in Louisiana depend on both the selectivity of the school and the strength of your profile. CollegeVine’s free chancing engine can help you better understand your chances at HBCUs in Louisiana and at schools across the country, using factors like your GPA, test scores, and extracurricular activities to estimate your odds of admission and to provide tips to improve your profile.


Short Bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.