HBCU Spotlight – Spelman College

Spelman-CrestHistorically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have served a vital and transformative role in the history of America. Many of this country’s most prominent civil rights activists, politicians, actors, scientists, scholars, and public figures attended or taught at HBCUs, and for students of all backgrounds who want to connect with and be inspired by this history, HBCUs can provide an excellent education and a sense of pride in the extraordinary accomplishments of the many students who have gone before them.

There is, however, another potential benefit of attending an HBCU. Many of the top HBCUs offer generous merit-based scholarships to students who have met certain GPA and test score requirements. In this series, we have profiled some of the top HBCUs in the country to show you the kinds of opportunities that exist at these historic institutions.

Spelman College

Located in Atlanta, Georgia, Spelman College is an all-female college that was founded in a church basement in 1881 as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary. In its early years it grew quickly with help from the Women’s American Baptist Home Missionary Society and John D. Rockefeller (who was a baptist and gave money to many HBCUs during this era). In 1884 the school’s name was changed to Spelman Seminary because Spelman was the maiden name of Rockefeller’s wife, Laura Spelman, whose family had been involved in the abolitionist movement.


Scholarship High School GPA SAT (CR+Math) ACT Other Requirements Award
Presidential NA NA NA Selection is competitive and generally the top students in the applicant pool are selected as recipients. Merit-based scholarships are given to approximately 10% of the incoming first-year student class. Covers full tuition, fees, room and board cost for four years
Dewitt Dean NA NA NA Covers full tuition costs for four years
Academic NA NA NA Covers half of tuition costs for four years
Student of Distinction NA NA NA Provides $5,000 per year for four years
Bonner Scholars NA NA NA Based on community service. a need-based scholarship calculated based on financial need.


Notable Commencement Speakers include Michelle Obama and Opera Winfrey.

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