Improving the Black Student Graduation Rate at the University of Arkansas

The Black student graduation rate at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville is 44 percent. This is 15 percentage points lower than the rate for White students. In 1996 the racial graduation rate gap was also 15 percentage points. But at that time the Black student graduation rate was only 27 percent. So, although a significant racial gap remains, great progress has been made in improving the graduation rate for both Black and White students.

One reason for the improvement is the Student Support Services program at the University of Arkansas. The program was established in 1976 but has been expanded to serve more students in recent years. Funded by a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, students in the program meet regularly with a student development specialist who provides academic, personal, career, and financial advice. The program is open to first-generation college students of all races and ethnic groups from low- to middle-income families. Students must apply for acceptance into the program. About 325 of the more than 17,000 undergraduate students on the Fayetteville campus are currently involved in the program.

A group of students who graduated from the Student Support Services Program in 2011.

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