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The 7 HBCUs in Mississippi: Which is Right For You?

What’s Covered:


Historically Black Colleges and Universities were predominantly founded in the Southeast during the years following the American Civil War. Today, there are 107 HBCUs with more than 228,000 students enrolled. Among the graduates of HBCUs are civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., United States Vice President Kamala Harris, and United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.


HBCUs include public and private schools that offer both two- and four-year degrees. Mississippi’s seven HBCUs produce over one billion dollars in economic impact for the state. Keep reading to learn about the seven HBCUs in Mississippi!


The 7 HBCUs in Mississippi


1. Jackson State University | JSU


Location: Jackson, Mississippi

Acceptance Rate: 62%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 5,600


Jackson State University, founded in 1877, has over 50 academic and administrative buildings on 245 acres.


The Jackson State Tigers participate in NCAA Division I as part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Jackson State’s most famous alum is former Chicago Bears running back, Super Bowl Champion, and nine-time Pro Bowl selectee, Walter Payton. Payton was an All-American during his collegiate football career at JSU and is regarded as one of the greatest football players of all time.


JSU offers 46 bachelor’s programs, 36 master’s programs, two specialist-in-education programs, and 13 doctoral programs within five colleges:


  • College of Business
  • College of Education and Human Development
  • College of Health Sciences
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Science, Engineering, and Technology


The top five undergraduate programs at JSU are Biology, Social Work, Health Care Administration, Criminal Justice, and Childcare & Family Education. Additionally, JSU is the first Mississippi university to establish a School of Public Health within its College of Health Sciences.


2. Alcorn State University


Location: Alcorn State, Mississippi

Acceptance Rate: 39%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 3,000


Alcorn State University, founded in 1871, was the first Black land-grant institution established in the United States and is the second oldest public university in Mississippi. Land grants were first signed by President Abraham Lincoln in response to the Industrial Revolution. They were intended to fund educational institutions that focus on agriculture, science, military science, and engineering. Today, there are 112 land grant institutions, 19 of which are HBCUs, including Alcorn State University.


Since 1871, Alcorn State has expanded to 1,700 acres across three campuses located in Lorman, Vicksburg, and Natchez. The university now offers over 50 top-degree programs across five schools.


  • School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
  • School of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Business
  • School of Education and Psychology
  • School of Nursing


Alcorn has NCAA Division I athletics, in addition to 60 organizations and clubs, including student-run radio and television stations, and study abroad programs. Alcorn’s tuition and fees are also among the lowest in the Mississippi region.


3. Tougaloo College


Location: Tougaloo, Mississippi

Acceptance Rate: 5%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 800


Tougaloo College, founded in 1871, sits on 500 acres on the northern edge of Jackson, Mississippi. Tougaloo’s beautiful campus has a rich history, with 10 buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, Tougaloo College possesses one of the most noteworthy art collections in the region, featuring over 1,150 works, the oldest of which are more than 400-500 years old.


According to the Tougaloo College website, the college has “historically produced over 40% of the African American physicians and dentists practicing in the state of Mississippi, more than one-third of the state’s African American attorneys and educators including teachers, principals, school superintendents, college/university faculty and administrators.” The academic divisions at Tougaloo College include the following:


  • The Division of Education
  • The Division of Humanities
  • The Division of Natural Sciences
  • The Division of Social Sciences


Tougaloo students’ education is enriched through the school’s collaboration with the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Tufts Medical and Dental Schools, Boston College, Duke University, Vanderbilt University, Mississippi College School of Law, and Mississippi State University. These other schools offer student/faculty exchange opportunities.


4. Mississippi Valley State University


Location: Itta Bena, Mississippi

Acceptance Rate: 79%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,900


Located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Valley State University offers 36 undergraduate and graduate degrees. With just under 1,900 undergraduate students, MVSU offers a small, public university education through the following colleges:


  • College of Arts & Sciences
  • College of Professional Studies
  • College of Education


68% of MVSU’s diverse and dedicated faculty holds a doctoral degree. MVSU even offers an honors program tailored to the needs of high-achieving students.


5. Rust College


Location: Holly Spring, Mississippi

Acceptance Rate: 38%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 800


Rust College is a small, historically Black, liberal arts, church-related college located in northwestern Mississippi. The 126-acre college is one of 10 HBCUs founded before 1868 that are still in operation.


The selective university offers a personalized educational experience with an average class size of only 20 and a 15:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Rust offers twenty bachelor’s and associate degrees, within the following major areas of study: 


  • Division of Education
  • Division of Humanities
  • Division of Science and Mathematics
  • Division of Social Sciences
  • Division of Business


The curriculum requires one year of general education, followed by major and minor areas of study in liberal arts, sciences, and electives. There are more than 40 clubs and organizations, including student government, Greek life, support groups, and intramural and collegiate sports.


In addition, Rust has advisors to coordinate and develop college-wide programs for both on- and off-campus students. Their rec room even has a movie theater that is open daily and stocked with free popcorn and drinks!


6. Coahoma Community College


Location: Clarksdale, Mississippi

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Undergraduate Enrollment: 1,800


Coahoma Community College is a public historically Black community college located near the Mississippi River. The 99-acre campus offers 17 career and technical programs, five short-term programs, Associate of Arts degrees, and general education core classes with 61 areas of study. The college is home to seven academic departments, which are:


  • Art
  • Business & Computer Information Systems
  • English & Foreign Language
  • Health, Physical Education & Recreation
  • Math & Science
  • Music
  • Social Science


7. Hinds Community College | Utica


Location: Utica, Mississippi

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Undergraduate Enrollment: N/A


Founded in 1903 as the Utica Normal and Industrial Institute and later renamed Utica Junior College, the school was originally envisioned as a “little Tuskegee.” The school was uniquely positioned to improve the education and lives of those living in Mississippi’s Black Belt.


In 1982, Utica Junior College merged with Hinds Community College. Nevertheless, Utica retained its HBCU designation and traditions. The Utica campus is the oldest of Hinds Community College’s six locations.


Hinds Community College – Utica offers 65 career and technical programs in 20 academic areas of study through eight pathways:


  • Agricultural, Construction, Manufacturing, and Transportation
  • Art & Humanities
  • Business
  • Education
  • Health Sciences
  • Hospitality and Human Services
  • Public Safety and Administration
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics


What Are Your Chances of Acceptance?


Certain HBCUs in Mississippi can be quite competitive. Your chances of admission will depend on the strength of your profile, as your personal chances of acceptance might be higher or lower than the listed admissions rates.


CollegeVine’s free chancing calculator can estimate your odds of acceptance using a variety of factors, including GPA, test scores, and extracurricular activities. It can also highlight areas in need of improvement. In addition to letting you know your chances of being accepted into a certain institution, our free chancing engine can also provide a list of schools that “fit” your needs and match 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.