The 50 Best Colleges for African Americans—in One Handy Chart

Updated: Apr 12, 2016 4:35 PM ET

No single college is best for everyone. So in addition to our annual list of more than 700 Best Colleges for Your Money, we also publish lists tailored to different kinds of students. Our Find Your Fit tool takes it a step further and lets you create a customized list of schools based on the factors that are most important to you.

Recently MONEY collaborated with Essence magazine, another Time Inc. title, analyzing more than 1,500 four-year colleges to single out the ones that offer the best value for African-American students. We focused on these factors:

Graduation rates. A school’s graduation rate is one of the best measures of how well it’s serving students. That is especially true for African-American students, whose average graduation rate of 40.8% within six years lags that of other racial groups. For our analysis, we compared colleges’ graduation rates specifically for black students. A few colleges with comparatively low graduation rates made our list because they were highly affordable and scored well on other indicators.

Affordability. To evaluate costs, we analyzed student and parent borrowing, net prices charged to low-income students, and the average net price of a degree of each school, after subtracting its financial aid. (The net price you'll see below is our estimate of the average net price charged in-state students by the school, which is the full sticker price minus only institutional aid and adjusted for inflation and the average time it takes students to graduate, which is typically more than four years. Your net price will be lower if you receive a federal aid such as Pell grants, or state aid such as Hope scholarships, or manage to graduate in just four years.)

Earnings potential. MONEY used a recent analysis by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce to identify colleges that produce relatively high earners, given the background of their student body.

Representation. Campus diversity is also important. For a school to make our list, African Americans had to represent at least 5% of students. “You don’t want to be the lone black student in the lecture hall,” says Tyrone Howard, associate dean for equity, diversity, and inclusion at UCLA.

Here are the 50 schools that earned the highest scores. (The ones with links also appear in MONEY's Best Colleges for Your Money rankings, where you can find additional data about them.)

Rank/College% African- American StudentsGraduation Rate for African AmericansNet Price of a DegreeEarly Career SalaryStudent Debt Load
1. Princeton University
Princeton, N.J.
6%93%$162,00$60,500$6,810
2. Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.
5%96%$176,500$60,000$6,000
3. Duke University
Durham, N.C.
7%92%$213,000$59,200$6,500
4. Cornell University
Ithaca, N.Y.
5%88%$216,200$58,200$12,000
5. Florida Agricultural
and Mechanical University

Tallahassee, Fla.
87%39%$94,300$45,900$27,275
6. Spelman College
Atlanta
87%75%$172,800$41,800$27,000
7. University
of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia
6%94%$207,000$59,200$21,500
8. Yale University
New Haven, Conn.
5%92%$196,500$54,500$12,000
9. North Carolina A&T State University
Greensboro, N.C.
80%49%$77,800$50,200$23,006
10. University
of Maryland-College Park

College Park, Md.
11%77%$96,300$52,700$19,500
11. Columbia University in the City of New York
New York, N.Y.
5%90%$214,600$59,500$19,435
12. Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Atlanta
6%77%$115,300$62,000$22,750
13. Georgetown University
Washington, D.C.
6%91%$223,400$52,100$17,500
14. University of Florida
Gainesville, Fla.
6%79%$90,700$48,900$15,133
15. Hampton University
Hampton, Va.
89%67%$145,500$42,600$27,474
16. Bowie State University
Bowie, Md.
83%33%$102,000$42,700$23,320
17. Wellesley College
Wellesley, Mass.
6%95%$178,400$48,300$8,225
18. Berea College
Berea, Ky.
15%62%$49,600$31,900$5,750
19. Amherst College
Amherst, Mass.
12%88%$173,500$55,700$11,186
20. Virginia State University
Petersburg, Va.
84%43%$102,300$38,800$28,451
21. Xavier University
of Louisiana

New Orleans
70%43%$111,800$37,400$27,000
22. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, N.C.
8%84%$92,100$45,300$15,906
23. Rice University
Houston
5%90%$172,700$61,200$8,413
24. Vanderbilt University
Nashville, Tenn.
7%89%$170,200$56,900$13,750
25. Brown University
Providence, R.I.
6%99%$207,100$54,500$16,000
26. University of Richmond
Richmond, Va.
8%95%$187,600$47,600$19,500
27. Dartmouth College
Hanover, N.H.
5%86%$207,700$56,900$11,625
28. Howard University
Washington, D.C.
86%60%$141,500$47,500$27,000
29. University of Virginia-Main Campus
Charlottesville, Va.
6%86%$101,900$53,400$19,500
30. Davidson College
Davidson, N.C.
6%97%$181,100$48,000$16,663
31. College
of William and Mary

Williamsburg, Va.
7%86%$122,300$45,900$20,786
32. Alcorn State University
Alcorn State, Miss.
93%40%$95,600$40,800$27,941
33. Williams College
Williamstown, Mass.
7%83%$200,600$50,900$12,005
34. Trinity Washington University
Washington, D.C.
67%44%$123,200NA$30,375
35. Jackson State University
Jackson, Miss.
89%43%$84,700$38,400$31,000
36. Johns Hopkins University
Baltimore
7%86%$209,300$57,000$18,500
37. Elizabeth City State University
Elizabeth City, N.C.
73%39%$62,300$34,400$24,886
38. Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View, Tex.
84%37%$91,700$56,000$29,052
39. Pomona College
Claremont, Calif.
7%92%$183,200$48,900$8,600
40. Northwestern University
Evanston, Ill.
5%93%$217,200$54,100$19,200
41. SUNY at Binghamton
Vestal, N.Y.
5%80%$104,000$49,000$20,500
42. Emory University
Atlanta
10%92%$210,400$50,400$19,500
43. North Carolina Central University
Durham, N.C.
76%48%$84,900$35,200$30,203
44. Tennessee State University
Nasheville, Tenn.
64%42%$90,300$45,100$28,500
45. Towson University
Towson, Md.
16%67%$104,900$43,500$19,000
46. Stony Brook University
Stony Brook, N.Y.
6%75%$96,800$48,800$20,173
47. Barnard College
New York, N.Y.
7%91%$209,600$50,400$19,500
48. Winston-Salem State University
Winston-Salem, N.C.
69%46%$80,100$43,900$20,173
49. Talladega College
Talladega, Ala.
84%50%$89,400NA$32,000
50. Rutgers University-Newark
Newark, N.J.
16%60%$141,100$46,500$22,250
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