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HBCU School Rankings

Most affordable HBCU — Elizabeth City State

Website ranks the Top 25 schools; where is your school?

Elizabeth City State University is ranked No. 1 on the affordability meter.

The digital education publication affordableschools.net, which focuses on unique and affordable academic programs, announced this month that Elizabeth City State topped that list among historically black colleges and universities that grant bachelor’s degrees.

The education site lists ECSU’s net cost price at $2,490 per year; the school’s enrollment is 1,867.

“Its continuing overall value has earned it several top rankings, including being named the Most-Affordable Small College in the U.S. (Best Value Schools) and one of the Top 15 HBCUs for academic quality, affordability, earning potential, and opportunity (Money Magazine and Essence),” according to www.affordableschools.net.

“ECSU offers 32 degrees (28 bachelor’s and four master’s) across 10 academic departments. Students who require flexibility in their studies (e.g., those who are married, serving in the military, or working) have a variety of options available to them. Supplements to ECSU’s degrees include a community development program, an e-mentoring and internship program, an honors program, research opportunities, an Army ROTC program, and study abroad options.”

The website’s Top 25 list was compiled out of 84 HBCUs in the United States. Several variables were considered in the analytics project that produced the rankings, including tuition, both in and out-of-state, federal grants and loans, as well as transfer rates.

Jethro Pugh, one of the most popular Dallas Cowboys players from the 1960s and 1970s, and Roots author Alex Haley, who spent a year there before joining the military, are two of ECSU’s best-known alumni.

No. 2 on the list is Clinton College, a small private Christian HBCU that originally was founded as the Clinton Institute in 1894. Clinton, with an enrollment of 194, has a yearly average net price of $6,336.

Located in Rock Hill, South Carolina, about 30 miles southwest of Charlotte, Clinton is an open-admissions school “with a focus on providing educational opportunities and support for underserved populations, including students with disabilities. This has led to over 80 percent of its students being low-income, first-generation college students,” the site states.

Clinton offers two bachelor’s programs: religious studies and business administration.

“We try to keep our tuition and room and board lower to attract students who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to college,” Elaine J. Copeland, president of Clinton College since 2002, told The Undefeated. “Ninety-one percent of our students are eligible for partial or full financial aid. We are going to offer five of our incoming, high-achieving students full tuition [this fall].”

George E. Battle Jr., an alumnus of Clinton, is a senior bishop in the 1.5 million-member African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church and was inducted into the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in 2014 in Baltimore.

Langston University is third on the list with a yearly average net price of $6,593. Founded in 1897 as the Oklahoma Colored Agricultural and Normal University, Langston “has a strong research focus, which currently features 25 contracts and grants totaling almost $19 million in overall funding,” according to the site.

Langston, the only HBCU in Oklahoma, is the undergraduate alma mater of Harlem Globetrotters great Marques Haynes and newly appointed Texas Southern University president Dr. Austin Lane.

Fayetteville State University ranks fourth with a yearly average net price of $6,848.

“Among the policies FSU has available to ensure its programs are affordable for as many students as possible, are in-state tuition rates for active-duty military personnel stationed in North Carolina and their dependent relatives,” according to the site.

Sylvester Ritter, more commonly known as professional wrestler Junkyard Dog, earned a political science degree at FSU.

Mississippi Valley State University rounds out the top five with a yearly average net price of $7,003.

“MVSU recently received a $1.3 million, five-year grant to increase support services and improve undergraduate retention and graduation rates. This comes after it had already achieved a strong increase in these areas in 2013-14,” according to the site.

Its most famous alumnus is Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, arguably the greatest wide receiver in NFL history.

“My hope is that the rankings will help narrow down the search a bit,” Raj Dash, site manager and lead researcher for the project, told The Undefeated.

“There’s a lot of time spent on searching suitable colleges by students and parents. Hopefully, this will help cut down on the amount of time looking at colleges.”

The complete list of the Top 25 HBCUs based on affordability.

Gregory Clay is an editor, writer and television/podcast commentator focusing on current news events. Based in Washington D.C., he has worked at Newsday and McClatchy and once gave a speech at a convention for the Texas State Bar Association.