Is Chicago State University An Hbcu?

When researching colleges and universities, prospective students may come across Chicago State University and wonder about its status as an HBCU, or Historically Black College or University.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: No, Chicago State University is not an HBCU. It is open to all students regardless of race or ethnicity.

Defining HBCUs

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have played a significant role in American higher education, providing educational opportunities for African American students since the mid-19th century.

These institutions were established at a time when segregation and discrimination prevented Black students from attending predominantly White institutions. Today, HBCUs continue to foster academic excellence, cultural preservation, and community engagement.

One such institution that often sparks debate is Chicago State University.

Origins of HBCUs

HBCUs have a rich history that dates back to the era of slavery. The first HBCU, Cheyney University, was founded in 1837 in Pennsylvania. Over the years, more HBCUs were established across the United States, providing African American students with access to higher education and opportunities for upward mobility.

These institutions played a crucial role in producing influential Black leaders, including civil rights activists, scientists, artists, and professionals in various fields.

Chicago State University, founded in 1867 as Cook County Normal School, later became known as Chicago Teachers College and then Chicago State College before being granted university status in 1971. While it is not historically designated as an HBCU, it has served a predominantly African American student population throughout its history.

Primary Mission

The primary mission of HBCUs is to provide a quality education to students of African descent, fostering an environment that celebrates Black culture and history. These institutions often prioritize the academic success, personal development, and social empowerment of their students.

HBCUs also play a vital role in addressing the unique challenges faced by African American communities, such as systematic inequality, racial disparities, and social justice issues.

Chicago State University, while not officially designated as an HBCU, shares similar goals and objectives. It has a strong commitment to providing educational opportunities for underserved populations, particularly African American students from the Chicago area.

The university offers a diverse range of academic programs, support services, and cultural initiatives that promote inclusivity and empower students to succeed.

It is important to note that the designation of an institution as an HBCU is determined by the United Negro College Fund and the U.S. Department of Education. While Chicago State University may not meet the specific criteria for an HBCU designation, it continues to serve its mission of providing access to higher education and supporting the African American community in Chicago.

About Chicago State University

History and Facts

Chicago State University (CSU) is a public university located in Chicago, Illinois. It was established in 1867 as the Cook County Normal School, primarily to train teachers. Over the years, the institution has undergone several name changes and transformations before becoming Chicago State University in 1971.

CSU has a rich history of providing quality education to students from diverse backgrounds. It is classified as a minority-serving institution, with a mission to serve African American and other minority communities in the Chicago area.

The university offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various disciplines.

One important aspect of CSU’s history is its commitment to social justice and community engagement. The university has played a significant role in advocating for equal educational opportunities and addressing social issues that affect marginalized communities.

Student Body Diversity

Chicago State University is known for its diverse student population. While it is not officially classified as a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), it has a substantial number of African American students.

According to the latest available data, African Americans make up around 70% of the student body at CSU.

In addition to African American students, CSU also welcomes students from various racial and ethnic backgrounds, including Hispanic, Asian, and Caucasian students. This diversity contributes to a vibrant and inclusive campus community where students can learn from one another’s experiences and perspectives.

CSU is committed to fostering an inclusive environment that celebrates diversity and provides opportunities for all students to succeed. The university offers support services and resources to help students thrive academically, socially, and personally.

For more information about Chicago State University, visit their official website:

Reasons Chicago State Is Not an HBCU

Opened as a Teachers College

One of the main reasons why Chicago State University is not classified as a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) is because it was not established with the purpose of serving the African American community.

When the university was founded in 1867, it was known as the Cook County Normal School and was primarily focused on training teachers for the growing population of Chicago. Its initial mission was to provide education to all races, not exclusively to African Americans.

Never Had Exclusively Black Enrollment

Unlike many HBCUs, Chicago State University has never had exclusively black enrollment. Throughout its history, the university has always been open to students of all races. While it has a significant African American student population, it also serves a diverse student body, including students from various ethnic backgrounds and cultures.

It is important to note that the classification of an institution as an HBCU is based on its historical mission and demographics. HBCUs were established during a time when African Americans were systematically excluded from higher education opportunities.

These institutions were created to provide access to education and uplift the African American community. While Chicago State University plays a crucial role in providing education and opportunities to its diverse student body, it does not meet the specific criteria to be classified as an HBCU.

Chicago State’s Commitment to Diversity

Chicago State University (CSU) has long been recognized for its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. While it may not be classified as a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), CSU has implemented numerous programs and initiatives to foster a diverse and inclusive campus community.

Programs and Initiatives

CSU offers a wide range of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion. One such initiative is the Multicultural Student Affairs Office, which provides support and resources for students from diverse backgrounds.

The office organizes cultural events, workshops, and mentoring programs to celebrate and educate the campus community about different cultures and perspectives.

In addition, CSU has established affinity groups and student organizations that cater to specific ethnic or cultural communities. These groups provide a platform for students to connect with others who share similar experiences and backgrounds, fostering a sense of belonging and community on campus.

Furthermore, CSU has implemented recruitment and retention programs targeted towards underrepresented minority students. These programs, such as the Bridge Program and the Minority Male Initiative, aim to increase the enrollment and graduation rates of minority students by providing academic support, mentorship, and leadership development opportunities.

Work Still to be Done

While CSU has made significant strides in promoting diversity and inclusion, there is still work to be done. The university recognizes the need for continued efforts to enhance diversity at all levels, including faculty and staff representation.

CSU is actively working towards increasing the diversity of its faculty and staff through targeted recruitment efforts and professional development opportunities. The university also strives to create an inclusive curriculum that incorporates diverse perspectives and experiences.

By addressing these areas, CSU aims to create a campus environment that celebrates diversity, fosters inclusivity, and prepares students to thrive in a diverse and global society.

For more information about Chicago State University’s commitment to diversity, visit their official website:

HBCU Options in Illinois

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have played a crucial role in providing education and opportunities to African American students. While there are several well-known HBCUs across the United States, such as Howard University and Spelman College, many people may be surprised to learn that Illinois also offers options for students seeking the HBCU experience.

Here are some HBCU options in Illinois:

Chicago State University

Chicago State University (CSU) is often a topic of discussion when it comes to HBCUs in Illinois. While CSU is not officially designated as an HBCU, it has a significant population of African American students and a rich history of serving the black community in Chicago.

Known for its strong programs in education, health sciences, and business, CSU provides a supportive and inclusive environment for students of all backgrounds.

CSU’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is evident through its partnerships with various organizations and initiatives. The university actively collaborates with community-based organizations to address social and economic disparities in underserved communities.

Additionally, CSU offers scholarships and financial aid programs to support African American students in pursuing their education.

Although CSU may not have the official HBCU designation, it continues to prioritize the success and well-being of its African American student population. It offers a range of support services, including academic advising, mentoring programs, and career development resources, to ensure that students have the tools they need to thrive academically and professionally.

It is worth noting that there are no other HBCUs in Illinois. However, there are several other universities and colleges in the state that have diverse student populations and offer programs and resources that support underrepresented communities.

These institutions, such as the University of Illinois at Chicago and DePaul University, provide valuable educational opportunities for students of all backgrounds.


While Chicago State University is not considered an HBCU, it aims to foster diversity and inclusion on campus, though progress remains ongoing. Students seeking an HBCU experience in Illinois do have options at schools like Chicago’s Gwendolyn Brooks College.

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