National Urban League Report Focuses on Non-Traditional African American College Students

The National Urban League recently released a new report dealing with the unique needs of non-traditional African American college students or those not in the typical college age group of 18 to 22.

The report finds that 65 percent of African American college students are independent and do not rely on their parents or grandparents to finance all or part of their educational costs. Here are some key findings included in the report:

* Many work either full or part-time while attending college and many have their own families.

* The study found that 48 percent of these non-traditional African American college students were single parents, compared to 23 percent of White non-traditional students.

* A large majority of these non-traditional African American college students attend two-year colleges or private, for-profit schools.

* Some 62 percent of all African American college students receive federal Pell grants. But only 14 percent of the non-traditional African American college students receive the maximum Pell grant award.

The authors of the report conclude that the Pell Grant program needs to be greatly expanded to meet the financial needs of non-traditional students. But increased funding is not going to totally solve the problem of low retention and graduation rates for non-traditional African American students.

The authors conclude that “institutions that create a culture of completion for all students and couple this culture with a suite of personalized services that address barriers such students face, has resulted in dramatic increases in the retention and graduation rates of their African American students. We believe this personalized approach to the college learning experience will help support the access, retention and completion of all students.”

The full report, From Access to Completion: A Seamless Path to College Graduation for African Americans, may be downloaded by clicking here.

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