With 8,749 students enrolled in the 2020-21 school year, Southern University is the seventh largest HBCU in the country. The public college, located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, opened in 1881 to educate Black students in the state. Today it's one of only 11 HBCUs to be recognized as a research university by the Carnegie classification system, alongside schools like Baylor University and the City College of New York.
Southern is fairly selective with an admissions rate of 37%, and nearly one in seven students are Pell recipients, according to data from the Postsecondary Value Commission. Alumni of the university's mechanical engineering, communication disorders, and biology majors are top earners for their field of study. Tuition and fees were just under $10,000 for in-state students, which is a bit higher than the median for public four-year HBCUs.