The college rankings are in from U.S. News and World Report and for the sixth year in row, Spelman College in Atlanta is the number one HBCU in the country.
The all-female institution founded in 1881 has 2,170 students, with 70 percent of the students graduating in four years, according the survey released this week.
Spelman boasts an 11:1 student/faculty ratio, and it has an endowment of more than $326 million.
All of the colleges in the top five among HBCUs are private institutions with tuition, room and board ranging from $36,000 at the number three-ranked Morehouse College in Atlanta to $26,300 at Xavier University in New Orleans, ranked number five and tied with Fisk University in Nashville.
Others in the top five are Howard University in Washington, D.C. at number two and Hampton University in Virginia at number four.
Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, is the top ranked, publicly funded HBCU, coming in at number 10. FAMU, founded in 1887, has 11.180 students, with 11 percent graduating within four years. The faculty student ratio at FAMU is 21:1 and the university has an endowment of more than $76 million.
The rankings were compiled using information collected from surveys.
To be included in the list colleges and universities must be listed in the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities registry. The registry includes "any historically black college or university that was established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary [of Education] to be a reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation."
HBCUs in the U.S. News ranking must be an undergraduate baccalaureate-granting institution that enrolls primarily first-year, first-time students and must have been a school that was currently part of the 2013 Best Colleges rankings.
The assessment of colleges is based on what matters in education, according to U.S. News and World Report.
The indicators used fall into six categories: assessment by administrators at peer institutions, retention of students, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, and alumni giving.
While each institution reflects a variety of differences, one fact appeared constant for all HBCUs. Students who attend have great financial need with most institutions having at least 80 percent of the student body receiving need-based assistance.
At Spelman College in 2011, 92 percent of the students received need-based assistance and 13 percent of the students had their financial need “fully met.”
More than half of the students at Hampton University, 52.2 percent, had their financial need “fully met,” out of the 52.7 percent receiving need-based assistance.
The percentage of students at public colleges requiring assistance also was high. At FAMU for example, about 80 percent of the student received need-based assistance. And at North Carolina A&T, ranked 11 on the list, about 85 percent of the students received need-based assistance.