Study: HBCUs Offer Low Tuition

Historically black colleges and universities can be a great value, according to a new report.

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Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, have significantly lower sticker prices than comparable colleges that don't specialize in educating blacks, the United Negro College Fund has reported.

The college members of the UNCF charge about $6,600 less than comparable institutions.

The study didn't examine the net costs students actually paid, however. Only about 25 percent of students at private colleges across the country pay their college's asking price. Three quarters get grants, averaging about $10,000, to reduce their costs far below the sticker prices. Most HBCUs haven't received the big donations or government grants that enable competing historically white institutions to offer lots of scholarships. So students offered grants at more expensive historically white colleges may actually pay less for their degrees than students who don't get grants but attend lower-priced HBCUs.

The UNCF noted, however, that some HBCUs do a much better job of giving disadvantaged students the tutoring and extra help they need to graduate than do larger and less specialized colleges.

Of course, there is great variation in the quality and prices of HBCUs, just like anything else. One way to find out if an HBCU you are considering will help you get your degree is to check out the school's graduation rate and our rankings.

And because the economic troubles are affecting schools differently, it pays to check out the financial and academic stability of any school you're considering before making a four-year commitment. Check the status of a school's accreditation via the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

[Read other tips for anyone considering an HBCU.]