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Regents Fund Grants To Increase Enrollment, Retention of College-Going African-American Males

Atlanta — June 29, 2004

Continuing the Board of Regents efforts’ to increase the low numbers of African-American males who attend college, University System of Georgia Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith today announced the funding of three new collaborative pilot programs in Atlanta, Albany and Savannah.

The Board has made tackling the low college-going rate of African-American males a priority over the past two years, through a nationally recognized research and marketing project known as the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative (AAMI).

In the new round of AAMI pilot grants, six University System institutions in three targeted areas of the state have been selected to receive $27,000 each to develop and implement public/private programs to enhance the recruitment and retention of African-American males in college. The newly funded programs require a collaborative approach between “sister institutions” in the three regions of the state and the participation of a civic partner with a track record of successful work with African-American males. University System officials anticipate the creation of new campus-community partnerships focused on the educational attainment of African-American males.

Meredith announced the $162,000 in new funding today to a statewide volunteer group assembled at the regents’ offices in Atlanta to assist in the development of a marketing plan for the AAMI. Last year, the Board of Regents funded six AAMI pilot programs at $10,000, for a total of $60,000.

The new round of grants have been awarded to the following University System institutions in these three regions:

  • Atlanta area: Atlanta Metropolitan College and Georgia State University will partner
  • Albany area: Albany State University and Darton College will partner
  • Savannah area: Armstrong Atlantic State University and Savannah State University will partner

“We made solid progress through the AAMI research in identifying the problems underlying low African-American male participation in college, and we identified specific ways to begin tackling this issue,” said University System Chancellor Thomas C. Meredith. “Now we must be equally aggressive in implementing programs and marketing efforts to impact African-American male college enrollment.”

The marketing task force assembled today, composed of education, business and civic leaders from across Georgia, will complement the pilot programs. The group will focus on developing and implementing a statewide program to communicate messages about the importance of post-secondary education to African-American males and those who influence their academic choices.

The new round of grants will run for the upcoming fiscal year, from July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2005. Both the first round of pilot programs, which conclude June 30, 2004, and the latest set of pilots will require final reports to assess their success rate against targeted goals. Evaluations will assess:

  • Specific programmatic initiatives to which the funds were directed;
  • How many African-American males were impacted by the funding
  • Evaluation and measurement strategies used to assess the effectiveness of the initiatives;
  • How the program’s successes can be shared with other University System of Georgia institutions; and
  • How and at what cost the programs might be expanded or replicated to have additional impact on the institutions’ and the System’s goals.

According to Arlethia Perry-Johnson, associate vice chancellor for media and publications and project director of AAMI, both USG institutions and the community have been very supportive of the AAMI effort. “We have strong support from diverse elements of the University System and from the civic community,” Perry-Johnson stated. “From developing campaigns in marketing courses to tackling the issue in presidents’ cabinet meetings to providing volunteer leadership – lots of folks have risen to the challenge. There is commitment, and that’s what it’s going to take to make a difference.”

The AAMI pilot programs arose from recommendations developed out of a research report submitted to the Board of Regents in May 2003. That report was the work of the University System of Georgia’s Task Force on Enhancing Access for African-American Males, a research project funded by the General Assembly and charged by Chancellor Meredith to investigate why such low numbers of African-American males enrolled in and graduated from college. The goals of the report’s recommendations are being addressed and implemented through the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative.

The Board’s data continues to dramatize the need to focus on improving the recruitment and retention of this key group. In fall 2003, African-American males comprised 32.1 percent of the University System’s African-American enrollment; 67.9 percent were females. Black males represented only 8 percent of the total University System undergraduate student population of nearly 205,000 students.

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