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The 9 HBCUs in Texas: Which One is Right for You?

What’s Covered:


There are 107 schools identified by the U.S. Department of Education as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), 104 of which are currently operational. If you’re unfamiliar with what an HBCU is, check out our blog post, What is an HBCU? A Complete List of Schools.


There are nine HBCUs in Texas, representing just under 10% of all the nation’s HBCUs. Texas trails behind just Alabama (16), Georgia (12), and North Carolina (12), the states with the most HBCUs.


If you’re interested in attending an HBCU in Texas, keep reading to learn more about these important institutions.


The 9 HBCUs in Texas


1. Prairie View A&M University (PVAMU)


Location: Prairie View, TX

Acceptance rate: 77%

Undergraduate enrollment: 8,400


Established in 1876, Prairie View A&M University has the distinctions of being the second-oldest public institution of higher education in Texas, and the first state-supported college in Texas for African Americans. Over the University’s nearly 150-year history, it has awarded more than 46,000 degrees.


Today PVAMU is known for its top-notch education, low student-to-faculty ratio (18:1), Division I athletics, gorgeous campus, and Panther Lanes (a community bowling center). PVAMU is also one of just four HBCUs with the honor of being designated an All-Steinway School.


2. Texas Southern University (TSU)


Location: Houston, TX

Acceptance rate: 63%

Undergraduate enrollment: 5,700


Located in the heart of Houston’s Third Ward, a predominantly Black community, is Texas Southern University. Home to more than 9,500 students and over 1,000 faculty members, the University plays an important role as a cultural and community center in Houston. TSU is known equally well for its rigorous undergraduate programs and its professional schools and graduate programs, such as the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.


While TSU is proud of their academics and athletics (they play in the Division I Southwestern Athletic Conference), the school’s band, Ocean of Soul, steals the spotlight—most notably, Ocean of Soul performed during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVIII.


3. Huston-Tillotson University (HT)


Location: Austin, TX

Acceptance rate: 50%

Undergraduate enrollment: 900


While not as large or recognizable as its Austin neighbor, the University of Texas, the small and private Huston-Tillotson University does have the distinction of being the first institution of higher learning to call the city home.


HT’s core curriculum is known for its diversity component—students are required to take six hours of diversity-focused courses, three of which must have an African/African Diaspora focus. Huston-Tillotson is another one of the four HBCUs that have the honor of being named an All-Steinway School.


4. Jarvis Christian College


Location: Hawkins, TX

Acceptance rate: N/A

Undergraduate enrollment: 700


Located about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, Jarvis Christian College enjoys a rural campus that provides a peaceful place to study, while offering easy access to more metropolitan areas. Established in 1913, Jarvis Christian College began as Jarvis Christian Institute and was modeled after the Southern Christian Institute of Edwards, Mississippi. It has been affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) since its inception.


The school is known for its teacher certification programs and for the fact that the East Texas Natural History Collection Museum is found on the Jarvis Christian College’s campus.


5. Wiley College


Location: Marshall, TX

Acceptance rate: N/A

Undergraduate enrollment: 600


Founded in 1873 by the Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church on the tenets of scholarship and service, Wiley College has been delivering a faith-based, liberal arts education for almost 150 years.


The college is known for its debate team, which earned national attention when it debated—and defeated—the University of Southern California (the defending national champion) in 1935. This victory inspired the movie The Great Debaters. This historic feat led the movie’s director and star, Denzel Washington, to donate $1 million to revive the school’s debate team.


6. Southwestern Christian College (SwCC)


Location: Terrell, TX

Acceptance rate: N/A

Undergraduate enrollment: < 200


Founded in 1948 by members of the Churches of Christ as the Southern Bible Institute, Southwestern Christian College remains committed to helping its students fully understand the concepts of “Christian Living.”


The school offers two bachelor’s degree programs—one in the Bible, and the other in Religious Education. It also offers a two-year associate degree program in liberal arts. On SwCC’s campus, you’ll find the Robert A. Terrell home, a Texas historic landmark, and one of just two octagonal houses left in Texas.


7. Texas College


Location: Tyler, TX

Acceptance rate: N/A

Undergraduate enrollment: 700


Texas College is located 100 miles east of Dallas in the city of Tyler. Founded in 1894 by a group of Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME Church) ministers, the school still remains affiliated with the CME Church today. Texas College is a residential college with a 25:1 student-to-faculty ratio that offers 12 bachelor’s degrees:


  • Biology
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science
  • Criminal Justice
  • English
  • General Studies
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Religion
  • Social Work
  • Sociology


8. Paul Quinn College


Location: Dallas, TX

Acceptance rate: 87%

Undergraduate enrollment: 300


Originally established by a group of African Methodist Episcopal Church preachers to educate freed slaves and their children in 1872, Paul Quinn College continues to deliver a faith-based education today.


Since 2015, Paul Quinn College has operated under a financial structure called the “New Urban College Model,” designed to allow students to graduate with less than $10,000 in student loan debt. Paul Quinn is also the first member of the Work Colleges Consortium from Texas, as well as the first Minority Serving Institution to join the group.


9. St. Philip’s College


Location: San Antonio, TX

Acceptance rate: N/A

Undergraduate enrollment: 12,400


St. Philip’s College is the only college in the nation to be recognized as both a Historically Black College and a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). The westernmost HBCU in Texas (and in the nation), St. Philip’s has a history similar to that of many other HBCUs—it was originally established to educate and train recently emancipated slaves.


St. Philip’s has a student-to-faculty ratio of 15:1 and an average class size of 20.8 students. Civic engagement plays an important role at St. Philip’s College; students participate in everything from a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to an annual Juneteenth Parade to Jessica’s Project—a program connecting STEM topics to issues affecting the local community.


How to Apply to an HBCU


While the application process for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is largely similar to that of other colleges, there are some key differences. Notably, some HBCUs do not utilize the Common Application, which means you may need to complete individual applications for these schools. Jumpstart your application process by reading our blog post, A Guide to the Common Black College Application.


Additionally, your application should clearly convey your interest in attending an HBCU. Your essays, for example, are a great opportunity to express why you are drawn to the unique culture, history, and educational experiences that HBCUs offer.


Moreover, as with any college application process, creating a thoughtful school list and conducting in-depth research on each prospective institution is paramount. Understanding each school’s mission, academic programs, campus life, and community can guide you to make an informed decision and express your interest effectively.


Researching schools and understanding your odds of acceptance is a process that can be a bit involved. CollegeVine’s free chancing engine can streamline the college application process for you. This tool considers factors such as grades, test scores, extracurriculars, and more, to estimate your odds of getting into hundreds of colleges and universities, including many HBCUs. It also provides insight into how to improve your profile! Leverage this resource to navigate your college application process with more confidence.

Short Bio
Varun is a recent graduate from Arizona State University, Tempe, with a degree in Computer Science. He aims to share his knowledge of computer science, the IB Diploma Program, and all things college-related with high school students. In his free time, he can be found performing DJ sets or cooking!