African American Edge Initiative

Why Edge?

Two happy students at commencementAfrican American student retention rates are the lowest of any other racial or ethnic groups on campus. In Fall 2002, 73.6% of African American freshmen students returned for their sophomore year. By 2006, it increased to 78%, but still remained the lowest percentage of all racial or ethnic groups on campus. According to the 2008 final report of the Retention Oversight Group, “students’ race does not, in and of itself, influence retention” (p. 2 - IRAP website). Instead, the students’ high school and first-term college GPAs are strong predictors of academic success.

It is evident that African American students on campus need a push to increase their GPAs and graduate on time. The research also shows that African American students who feel a sense of belonging, defined as feelings of membership in the larger community, develop a better attitude about their college or university.

Program Goals

The goal of the Edge Initiative is to provide formal, sustainable support from the University, and specifically African American faculty and staff, to give African American students an edge—the opportunity to see that they can succeed by working hard, while never giving up their identities.

Edge Scholars In the News

Quincey Penn and Samara Smith were each awarded a scholarship at the 28th Annual African American Student Recognition Program. Congratulations to Quincey and Samara!

Photo of Quincey Penn

Photo of Samara Smith