Howard University

Howard University Student Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

Howard University is located in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in fields such as journalism, finance, and biology. Read about enrollment information, admissions and financial aid, plus the pros and cons of attending Howard University.

Is Howard University the Right School for You?

Howard University is a private, not-for-profit 4-year institution offering undergraduate and advanced degrees in more than 120 areas of study. Located in Washington, D.C., Howard remains in the large city where it was founded soon after the end of the Civil War, in 1866, by General Oliver O. Howard, a war hero and commissioner of the Freedman's Bureau. Howard University is one of only 48 private research universities in the United States. Read more to find out about the pros and cons as well as enrollment, financial aid, and admissions information for Howard University.


  • Student teacher ratio is 10:1, 5 points less than the national average
  • Ranked second among Historically Black Colleges and Universities by U.S. News and World Report
  • Average student debt at graduation was $11,580 lower than the national average in 2011


  • Acceptance rate is 11 percentage points lower than the national average.
  • Cost of room and board is $1,109 higher then the national average
  • Total cost of attendance in 2011-2012 was $1,266 higher then the national average.

Rankings and School Analysis

Howard University's rich history, innovative research, and reputation puts it on the intersection between history, culture, politics, and service. If you are thinking of applying to a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), it is good to know that Howard places second on U.S. News and World Report rankings of HBCU's in 2013. They also add Howard to their rankings of national universities committed to innovative research. This, in addition to a lower-than-average student-to-teacher ratio and debt upon graduation, may make Howard a possibility for you. Admissions are competitive and costs are slightly higher then the national average, so you will have to consider this when comparing Howard to other schools on your list.

Howard has a history of providing education for black students and has some very notable alumni. The first African-American governor, L. Douglas Wilder, graduated from Howard, as well as the first female mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin. Other notable graduates include Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison and actress Phylicia Rashad. Since 1998, Howard University has produced 9 Pickering fellows, 6 Fulbright Scholars, a Rhodes Scholar, and a Truman Scholar.

Though Howard is known for its large collaborative research centers and institutes, including Howard University's Center for Sickle Cell Disease, the Capstone Institute, and the Center for Urban Progress, smaller scale undergraduate research is encouraged as well. In the yearly Symposium on Undergraduate Research, you can submit your own research project for review. Winners' projects are published on the school's website, and there are cash prizes as well. Some winning projects in the past have included studies on obesity, violence, plasma, and immigration policy.

There is also a university-wide core curriculum that you should know about if you are considering applying to this school. To meet graduation requirements in any department at Howard you will be required to take 2 English composition courses and an Afro-American studies course; most students also must fulfill a math, humanities, science, and physical education requirement as well.

Getting in and Financial Aid at Howard University

To apply for admission at Howard University you can submit either the common application or Howard's own application and a non-refundable $45 fee. In addition to this, recommendations from a high school counselor and a high school teacher, SAT or ACT scores, official transcripts or GED certificate, and your essay should also be submitted. The admissions committee at Howard reported that they will look at your academic record, test scores, leadership both in and out of school activities, educational goals, and any unique skills you may have. The acceptance rate is lower than the national average, which is why U.S. News and World Report considers Howard University to be selective in its admissions process.

If you want to apply for financial aid to defray the costs of attending Howard, you will have to fill out your FAFSA; if you seek priority consideration for aid, have your forms in by November 1. There are also a number of scholarships available from Howard, including ROTC scholarships, athletic scholarships, and Howard's Presidential Scholarship, but these have varying criteria, so it is best to check with their financial aid office for more details. According to U.S. News and World Report more than 95% of students applied for aid in 2011 and 89.2% received it. Of the more than 10,000 students attending Howard, 51.7% received need-based grants or scholarships, which means that a little more than half of the students at Howard received some funding that they will not have to pay back upon graduation.

Admissions and Financial Aid
Regular Application Deadline (2013) February 15***
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2013) November 1 (priority application)***
Admission Notification (2013) April 15***
Application Fee (2013) $45*
Acceptance Rate (2011-2012) 54%**
Tuition and Fees (2011-2012) $20,171***
Average Financial Aid Package (2011) $13, 140***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2011) $15,080****
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 7.2%**

Student Life at Howard University

Howard is a large university with a wide variety of majors and is located in a large city. As such, it is in close proximity to shopping, dining, and sports events, as well as political and cultural opportunities unmatched in any city other the nation's capital. Most students at Howard attend on a full-time basis, a majority of freshmen live on campus, and 98% of students come from out of state. The College Board reported a freshmen retention rate of 85%, which is a good indication of satisfaction with the school.

With 225 clubs and organizations, you will have plenty of possibilities on campus to appeal to your interests as well. Few students at Howard, less than 2%, participate in Greek life, but there are 4 sororities and 5 fraternities active on campus. If you're interested in sports as a spectator or as an athlete, you will be glad to know that Howard University participates in the NCAA Division 1 Athletic Conference, while it also has a number of teams - from badminton to table-tennis - in which you can participate at an intramural level as well.

Student Life
Campus Setting Large city**
Student Population (2011) 10,583 (7,144 undergraduate)**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011)33% male, 67% female**
% of Full-Time Students (2011) 94%**
% of In-state Students (2011) 1%**
% of International Students (2011)1%**
Retention Rate (2011) 85%***
Campus Housing Available yes*
% of Students Living On-Campus55%***

*Howard University, **NCES, ***College Board, ****U.S. News and World Report

School Contact Information

  • Address: Office of Admission,?2400 Sixth Street, NW, Suite 111 ,?Washington, DC 20059
  • Phone: 1-800-822-6363