plural HBCUs
: a college or university in the U.S. established before 1964 for African American students : a historically Black college or university
the state's largest HBCU

Note: The term HBCU was created as a federal designation during the 1986 reauthorization of the Higher Education Act of 1965, which expanded federal funding for colleges and universities.


2 of 2


historically Black colleges and universities

Examples of HBCU in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
The Biden Administration recently re-emphasized these funding inequities in a joint letter sent by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to HBCU state governors. Kimberly Wilson, Essence, 28 Nov. 2023 How did going to an HBCU shape your career and change your trajectory? Carl Lamarre, Billboard, 28 Nov. 2023 And the cultural and historical significance of an HBCU leading bands in the parade is not lost on Macy’s officials, either. Char Adams, NBC News, 22 Nov. 2023 Also during Zahara’s move-in, the mother-daughter duo met with the HBCU’s president, Dr. Helene Gayle, and vice president for student affairs, Darryl Holloman, who marked the occasion with photos shared on Instagram. Bailey Richards, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2023 Held in the Oprah Winfrey Theater at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., the screening was the opening night highlight of the inaugural HBCU First Look Film Festival, whose mission is to encourage the Hollywood dreams of HBCU students and alums. Ronda Racha Penrice, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 Nov. 2023 The screening for the Netflix biopic was held at the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C, and was one of the opening night events for the inaugural HBCU First Look Film Festival from Nov. 10 to Nov. 12. Valerie Wu, Variety, 11 Nov. 2023 PepsiCo is making efforts to ensure no HBCU student goes hungry. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 6 Nov. 2023 Link recently penned a letter highlighting the potential of introducing a space law program at the HBCU, in which students learn about the black letter law of international space treaties and US space policy. Essence, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'HBCU.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1980, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of HBCU was in 1980

Dictionary Entries Near HBCU

Cite this Entry

“HBCU.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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