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Top Black Colleges and HBCUs

There are currently 106 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the United States, attended by hundreds of thousands of students. These schools, which include public and private institutions, were created before the year 1964 to help educate African American students when they were not allowed to enroll into other schools. Today, they still serve a major role in educating African American students and other students of various ethnic backgrounds.

Top Black Student Organizations and Associations

There are many organizations and associations that help African American and minority students attend college and pursue their careers. Such organizations typically support students via annual national conferences, semi-annual regional conferences, career fairs, networking opportunities, literature, access to exclusive online information, and more.

Here are some of the top ones:

NACME aims to ensure American competitiveness in a flat world by leading and supporting the national effort to expand U.S. capability through increasing the number of successful African American, American Indian, and Latino young women and men in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

NABA has successfully designed programs to enhance professional career development. Focusing on the essential skills for success, NABA offers unique value-added leadership training and professional development opportunities as well as venues for organizations and individuals to build new business.

NSBE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is owned and managed by its members. With more than 30,000 members around the world, NSBE is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States.

NABCJ has made a goal of achieving equal justice for blacks and other minorities. Our members consist of criminal justice professionals such as those in law enforcement, institutional and community corrections, courts, social services, academia, religious and other community-based interests as well as criminal justice students and community leaders.

NBGSA is recognized as the primary student organization addressing the needs of Black graduate students. NBGSA offers its members leadership training, professional development, mentoring opportunities, career placement services and more.

The vision of NBSU is to link Black Student Unions at national, regional and state forums; encourage Black Student Unions to pursue graduate and professional study; network Black Student Unions in pursuit of public, private, and non-profit employment; and maximize the participation of Black Student Unions in select campus curricular and co-curricular activities.

TMCF partners with omember-schools to increase access, retention and graduation rates of students, identifies and prepares students attending member-schools who have significant leadership potential, and manages a pipeline for employers to highly-qualified member-school students and alumni.

UNCF is the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization. Since its founding in 1944, UNCF has raised more than $3.6 billion to help more than 400,000 students receive college degrees at UNCF-member institutions and with UNCF scholarships.

What Is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form you need to fill out to get any financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. Each year, over 13 million students who file the FAFSA get more than $120 billion in grants, work-study, and low-interest loans from the U.S. Department of Education.

Submitting the FAFSA is the most important thing you can do if you want financial aid.

The FAFSA is free—you don’t need to pay anyone to prepare it for you.

You need to submit a new FAFSA before each academic year in which you want to get aid. If you plan to apply for aid throughout college, you’ll need to fill out the FAFSA each year.

Be sure to use a permanent email address on the form, not your high school email, so you can use your FAFSA account throughout college.

Completing the FAFSA is one of six steps you need to take to qualify for a $40,000 College Board Opportunity Scholarship.

You qualify for a $1,000 College Board Opportunity Scholarship just by submitting your FAFSA.

Anyone planning on going to college in the next academic year should fill out the FAFSA.

Here’s why:

Each year, millions—sometimes billions—of dollars in federal aid is left on the table by students who didn’t file a FAFSA. It’s simple: If you don’t file, you won’t qualify for most financial aid.

Your family doesn’t have to have a low income to qualify for assistance. Even if your family makes $200,000 a year, you could be eligible for aid.

You automatically qualify for a low-interest federal loan when you submit a FAFSA. These loans are less expensive to pay back than many private student loans.

Many work-study programs require the FAFSA.

Some merit-based scholarships require the FAFSA to help them determine scholarship amounts.

There are three ways to complete and submit your FAFSA:

We recommend filling out the FAFSA online or through the app. Both options offer useful tips to help you understand the questions, which can make it a lot easier to fill out and submit the application.

When you fill out the FAFSA electronically, you’ll be asked to create a federal student aid ID (FSA ID). You’ll use it to sign the electronic form. Because one of your parents also has to sign off on your FAFSA, they’ll need to create an FSA ID, too.

You can file as early as October 1 for the following academic year. It’s a good idea to submit the application as soon as possible because financial aid is often given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

There are three types of FAFSA deadlines:

  • College deadlines: Important when you’re applying for aid from a college. Deadlines vary by school, so check college websites or contact the financial aid offices of the colleges you’re interested in to find out when you need to submit your FAFSA.
  • State deadlines: Important when you’re applying for aid from your state.  Check your state’s FAFSA deadline.
  • Federal deadline: June 30 is the last day you can apply for federal aid for the following academic year.

Remember: You should send in your FAFSA as soon as you can, regardless of deadlines. There’s a lot of financial aid out there—give yourself the best shot at getting the most assistance by applying early.

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