No, you do not need to be of African-American status in order to apply to HBCU's. Although most HBCU were established in later years,three were founded prior to the Civil War: Cheyney (PA),Lincoln (PA), Wilberforce (OH). "The Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, defines a "part B institution" as: "...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." Wikipieda So, although established for predominately African American students today in 2015, many HBCU's have grown to include so many others from differing backgrounds that, the African American majority may be somewhat smaller. At each institution though, courses are offered relating to the historical nature of the life and times, the experiences, of the African American here in the US.