How the University of Maryland Has Boosted Black Male Retention and Graduation Rates

marylandIn recent years, the University of Maryland at College Park has shown significant gains in its Black student graduation rate. The overall improvement has been led by an increase in the graduation rate for Black men, which has improved from 65.0 percent to 72.4 percent over the past four years. The university attributes this improvement to its Student Success Initiative, which is geared to closing the academic achievement gap for students from at-risk groups including Blacks and other racial and ethnic minorities.

Tony Randall, senior manager of the Student Success Initiative, told JBHE that “the Student Success Initiative uses institutional data to identify students in need of support. It then contacts these students through email to encourage them to remain in school, and offers students assistance in three key areas: academics, financial aid, and mental health.”

The efforts have paid dividends as evident by university retention data. For Black male first-year students in the fall of 2013 who had a 2.3 grade point average or better, 100 percent returned for the spring semester. More than 89 percent of the Black male students who had a grade point average lower than 2.3 also returned for the spring semester.

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