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The Common Black College Application Provides A New Educational Lifeline For HBCUs

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The Common Black College Application (CBCA) is becoming one of the most recognized educational services in the country for students interested in applying to HBCUs.

In an interview with VOX ATL, CBCA Founder and CEO Robert Mason says that close to a quarter million students have successfully completed the CBCA application and matriculated to one of the 68 partner HBCUS of the application. The CBCA applies students to all of its member institutions for only $20 and has become an educational lifeline. It is more than just a college application, it is putting students in the position to have multiple scholarship offers to elite and established HBCUs that are preparing students academically and professionally.

CBCA is impacting multiple school districts in the Atlanta area and around the world, including Dekalb County, Clayton County, Detroit Public Schools, D.C Public schools, Los Angeles Unified Schools, and more. It is motivating students to make informed decisions financially and academically, breaking cycles of poverty, presenting students with a variety of HBCUs to choose from, and informing them on many HBCUs they may not have heard of or originally considered. 

“I am the first in my family to go to college,” Mason tells VOX ATL.  “I am breaking the cycle of poverty, and changing lives around the world”.

He added that “the main goal of CBCA is to create opportunities for all students interested in HBCUS regardless of their GPA, test scores, or other standardized statistics”.

Mason was inspired to create the CBCA during his time working at Clark Atlanta as a recruitment coordinator. He was in this position around the same time Common App was being created and he was always asked as he traveled representing Clark Atlanta why certain HBCUS and schools were not being represented. This inspired him to think of the idea of creating a service where he could represent different colleges, students would use one application, one fee, and apply to multiple HBCUS all at once. He also stated that after discussing his idea with a few of his friends at other colleges he received confirmation it was a great idea. This was the start of the Common Black College Application and the start of Mr. Mason having students tell him “Rob you saved my life.” 

Mr. Mason also shared that the main goal of CBCA is to shed light on all HBCUS, even the smaller ones. By doing this, he said it puts students in the position to receive multiple scholarship offers and make informed decisions because they have options. He also shared that the quality of education and opportunities for students who attend HBCUS are unmatched and should not be overlooked, which is why many believe his application is so important and essential.

“Going into this school year, I didn’t see myself at any of the HBCUs on the Common Black College App,” says Kaili Trice, who will be attending Tennessee State University this fall, majoring in Biology. “But through this process, I was able to see what all these colleges had to offer me.”

Mason states that more than 100,000 students are now going to college by applying through CBCA. This has helped break cycles of generational poverty by helping many students receive full ride scholarship offers, exposing many youth to opportunities they may have been unaware of, and providing students the opportunity to experience the impactful academia at HBCUS.

“I wanted to attend an HBCU and it helped me gain access to information about schools I didn’t know about as well,” says NiCori Holmes, who is also attending TSU, majoring in Health Science. “It also helped me acquire an academic scholarship to Tennessee State, which prior to using CBCA I didn’t know existed, and for that I’m grateful.”

The legacy of CBCA is not only being left through students but the many books CBCA is in the process of releasing. The first book discussing the initiation and importance of CBCA, the foreword being written by Dr. Glenda Glover (president of Tennessee State University), and highlighting the many students whose lives he’s positively impacted. It is clear that the Common Black College Application is the educational lifeline impacting thousands of students’ lives and matriculating them to elite and established HBCUs of our country.

Below are a few students who have successfully applied through CBCA and are now matriculating to their desired HBCU. 

Sayj Harris, attending Tennessee State University on a full scholarship majoring in computer science. She states, “The common black application gave me easy access to hundreds of HBCUs within one application. I also was able to communicate directly to different institutions in one location. To any seniors interested in applying to HBCUs using the common black app I say do it. It is an easy and affordable way to apply to college.”


Jeremy Wellmaker, attending Tuskegee University majoring in Finance. He states “CBCA made the site very affordable for me to apply to many HBCU’s for only $20. My message to the rising seniors who are interested in applying to HBCU’s through CBCA is to get ahead and apply early!!!”


Kaili Trice, attending Tennessee State University majoring in Biology. She states “CBCA helped me apply to my HBCUs because I was able to apply to many of the HBCUs that I may not have applied to at all, at one time. The process of applying to all these schools was straightforward but gave me a resource to help keep track of my applications in one place. A message that I have for seniors interested in applying to HBCUs through CBCA is to always keep an open mind because you never have the possible opportunities that may come your way.”

Dylan Maple, attending Tennessee State University majoring in Information Technology/ business minor. He states “ CBCA helped me apply to multiple colleges conveniently in a timely fashion where I felt like I was using my time wisely and efficiently. If I could give advice to students starting to apply to college make sure you email the school if you do not hear back from them and put your favorite schools in order of importance to make sure you attend the school of your choice with a possible scholarship offer.”

Kristin Taylor, attending Alabama A&M majoring in political science. She states “CBCA gave me the option to apply to a ton of HBCUs quickly and at a price where my family could afford. I was able to do the whole process fairly quickly and email each school for them to get back to me. My message to future seniors is to definitely use it. I didn’t know what school I wanted to apply to, so being able to do most of them helped me out.”


NiCori Holmes, attending Tennessee State University majoring in Health Science to become a physical therapist. He states “CBCA helped my application process because I wanted to attend an HBCU and it helped me gain access to information about schools I didn’t know about as well. It also helped me acquire an academic scholarship to Tennessee State (which prior to using CBCA I didn’t know existed) and for that I’m grateful. For upcoming seniors, apply to as many schools as you can and to take every opportunity you can to earn scholarships.”

Tori North, attending Tennessee State University majoring in animal sciences on a pre-vet track. She states “CBCA was a complete asset in assisting me to apply to HBCUS. With the single application process normally taking an immense amount of time to complete, having an opportunity to apply to many of my top choices within one application was a complete success for me, ultimately allowing me to be offered many scholarships from multiple colleges and universities. It changed my entire future by affording me many additional choices via large scholarship offers/awards. Rising seniors make sure to make the CBCA process a priority when first beginning the college application process. If I had to do it over again, I would for sure complete the CBCA application first, as it was a complete game changer for me!”

Sydney Hammonds, attending Tennessee State University double majoring in Early Childhood Education and Social Work. She states “If I could tell rising seniors anything, Like Nike says “just do it.” You never know what will happen unless you take a leap of faith and do it. It is not time consuming at all. It’s simple and easy. If I didn’t apply through black common app I would not have been going to Tennessee State University on a scholarship.”


Rheale May, attending Tennessee State University majoring in Criminal Justice. She states “CBCA helped me a lot for my last year of high school, it’s a lot less stressful to apply to a variety of schools In one area at one time rather than just one at a time. For rising seniors that are interested in applying to HBCU’s through CBCA just know you’re going to get accepted into a lot of schools during the process, it’s a lot easier and you have more time to sit back and decide what school you want to go to so honestly I personally believe everyone should do it.”

E’lissa Batiste, attending Tennessee State University this fall majoring in Nursing. She states “CBCA gave me the once in a lifetime opportunity of applying to over 30 HBCUs at a fraction of the price spent on multiple applications. I encourage all rising seniors to take advantage of the limitless amount of opportunities CBCA has to offer regarding your college application and decision process.”


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