data chart with HSI and HBCU data

A Closer Look at the Data

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-serving institutions (HSIs) educate a large portion of the diverse talent entering the engineering workforce today.

By Roberta Rincon, Ph.D., SWE Associate Director of Research

The Higher Education Act of 1965 defines an HBCU as any historically black college or university that was established before 1964 and whose principal mission is to educate Black Americans. HBCUs must be accredited or making progress toward accreditation. HSIs are accredited colleges and universities with 25% or more total undergraduate Hispanic full-time equivalent students enrolled. While the number of HBCUs cannot increase due to the 1964 establishment date, changing demographics in the U.S. means more institutions are identifying as HSIs every year.

2018-2019 academic year chart for HBCUs and HSIs a closer look at the data chart

There are currently 101 two-year and four-year HBCUs in the United States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. Of these, 27 awarded bachelor’s degrees in engineering in the 2018-19 academic year. As of 2019, there were 569 HSIs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Of these, 70 awarded bachelor’s degrees in engineering in the 2018-19 academic year.

There are more than 600 colleges and universities in the U.S. and U.S. territories that award at least one bachelor’s degree in engineering.

Find out more about HBCUs and HSIs awarding engineering degrees on SWE’s research site:

The number of HBCUs and degree completion data for HBCUs and HSIs was obtained from the National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

The number of HSIs was obtained from Excelencia in Education’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs): 2019-2020 publication. Available at