Essence and MONEY magazines have released a new ranking of the best 50 colleges for African Americans.

By Janel Davis
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, April 12, 2016 —

Erica Lamberson leads a group of woman entering the Spelman College commencement ceremony, Sunday, May 17, 2015, at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. Spelman ranked 6th among the 50 best colleges for African Americans, in a new ranking from Essence and MONEY magazines.(Special/John Amis)

The college selection process can be arduous for students and their parents. To help with the decision, Essence and MONEY magazines have released a new ranking of the best 50 colleges for African Americans.

Topping the list is Princeton, followed by Harvard, Duke and Cornell universities. Atlanta’s Spelman College, ranked sixth, was the top-ranked among Georgia schools. Georgia Tech ranked 12th, and Emory University ranked 42nd.

The inaugural rankings, released Tuesday, was compiled based on interviews with researchers, students and professors, along with data analysis of more than 1,500 public and private four-year colleges that offered the best combination of opportunity, educational value, affordability and advantage in the job market.

Among the factors examined were the number of African-Americans earning degrees in STEM fields, the amount of loan debt carried by students and their parents, earnings after accounting for race, and the graduation rate of a college’s black students.

Spelman’s high ranking follows its first-place ranking among national historically black colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s 2016 best colleges rankings. The women’s college has become known for producing black female founders of tech startups, and was also one of two schools in Georgia to receive  a prestigious First in the World grant from the federal education department to develop strategies for improving student retention and graduation rates.


1. Princeton University

2. Harvard University

3. Duke University

4. Cornell University

5. Florida A&M University

6. Spelman College

7. University of Pennsylvania

8. Yale University

9. North Carolina A&T State University

10. University of Maryland College Park

Check out the full list of 50 institutions here.