ASU grant to help recruit African American male students
by Melissa Tune, WRDW
There’s been some progress, but the numbers show that when it comes to getting a college degree, African American males continue to rank last. That’s why Augusta State University is hoping that a $20,000 “African American Initiative” grant will help.
Back in 2005, fewer than eight percent of African America males graduated from college.That number hasn’t changed that much since then, but ASU is hoping this grant will help some young men get an education and get ahead in life.
Sterling Wimberly could have been anywhere on Monday night, but he chose to be inside a classroom at ASU. The sophomore Marketing major serves in the National Guard and he’s commutes to campus. Somehow, he gets it all done.
“It is getting harder for young African American students to get into college,” Wimberly told News 12. “Not only get into college, but stay in college once they get in there.”
He’s absolutely right, and he’s actually a rarity. Out of 6500 students at ASU, only 377 of them are African American men. But that’s about to change because of a state grant aimed at enrolling more African American males.
“It’s important to just get an education and focus on your dreams, ” said Wimberly.
Karen Mobley is the director of ASU Student Development. She says the grant will help bring more black males to the university.
“Unfortunately, African American men have the biggest hurdle,” said Mobley. “They have the lowest rate of college attendance.”
Mobley says they started out with a retention rate of of about 48 percent, and since the program began in 2006, they increased the retention rate to 67.3 percent.
“Summer Bridge” is one of the programs for which ASU will use the grant money. It is a transitional program aimed at helping the young men acclimate themselves to college life.
ASU is one of 13 Georgia colleges to share in the grant from the Lumina Foundation. ASU will get $20,000 and the college will match it.
“The Board of Regents in Georgia has made a strong commitment,” said Wimberly. “Our administrators are taking this program extremely seriously. Wwe are utilizing our student services and department academic. Everyone is on board to make this imitative successful.”
When ASU got the same grant back in 2006, Mobley remembers the student being a success and the students as well.
“We’ve had a number of success stories. I”m very proud of our first cohorts of African American males. In fact, when we started the program in 2006, we started out with about 21 students. Of those students, two students have graduated early, one student is in law school. So, for any African American male out there, there are so many opportunities out there, and ASU is one of your options.”
For Sterling Wimberl, it’s his option for success.
“I’d just like to encourage my fellow brothers to try and get into school,” Wimberly said. “It’s actually easier than ever to get into school, but they need to go ahead and get into school make a difference in their communities.”
ASU is one of the few schools that will also receive a research opportunity to look more closely into African American male initiative programs. The data will assist the University System in finding ways to improve the retention and graduation rates of African American men.