In preparation for our awesome #FirstGenOfficeHour chat on November 6th at 7pm EST  focused around specialized schools, here’s an article with a breakdown of each unique type of school!

This article is published in the 2014 I’m First Guide to College

Specialized Schools

Some colleges were founded to serve specific groups of students. Others strive toward a mission of instilling certain values in their students or preparing them towards specific career paths.

Historically Black Colleges & Universities

While Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) represent only 3{53c6eff5ce19621f7316832cfedf08caab022021f1679c62c3f44b8900ceaf72} of American institutions of higher learning, they graduate nearly 25{53c6eff5ce19621f7316832cfedf08caab022021f1679c62c3f44b8900ceaf72} of all African Americans who earn Bachelor’s degrees. HBCUs are leaders in training young professionals—especially in the arts, business and the sciences—who are prepared to address the unique needs of the African American community.

Hispanic-Serving Institutions

Did you know that over half of all Hispanic undergraduate students in higher education are enrolled in less than 10 percent of institutions in the United States? This concentration of Hispanic enrollment gave way to a federal program designed to support colleges and universities in the United States that assist first-generation, majority low-income Hispanic students, now known as Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs).

Tribal Colleges and Native American-Serving Institutions

Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) are institutions chartered by tribal governments to serve and support American Indian students (along with other students as well). They operate more than 75 campuses around the country and offer a range of curricula, from liberal arts to workforce development. There are also many four-year, traditional institutions that are excited to work with Native students and have created programs to attract them to their schools. The nonprofit organization College Horizons partners with over 50 colleges that have made a commitment to recruiting Native students and meeting their full demonstrated financial need.

Women’s Colleges

Women’s colleges are institutions founded in order to provide female scholars with an outstanding education. Most often, these colleges are small and private. Many are also affiliated with a certain faith.

Faith-Based Institutions

Faith-based colleges and universities are those related to a faith tradition. In the U.S., this mostly means their heritage is Roman Catholic, Jewish or Protestant. In only rare cases are there religious requirements to gain admission and most of these institutions have diverse student bodies.

Military Service Academies

Scattered around the United States, military service academies prepare students to become leaders in a specific branch of the armed forces, such as the Air Force or Coast Guard. Generally, students are provided with access to specialized, career-aligned paths of study as well as courses in the liberal arts. Students earn a Bachelor’s degree, often at little or no cost.