African American Edge Initiative
African 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.
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
Viola Malone (far right) and Natacha Woodson (second from left) were each awarded a scholarship at the Evening of Elegance Banquet in December 2012. Congratulations to Viola and Natacha!
Kaluhua Brown was awarded a $500 academic performance scholarship after applying to the William Hearst/CSU Trustees' Scholarship.
Although freshmen do not typically win this prestigious award, Kaluhua's academic performance did not go unnoticed by the committee. Without Kaluhua's tenacity to pursue all of the opportunities presented to her she would have not even be considered for a scholarship. Her Edge mentor, Kizzy Lopez, truly believes that Kaluhua will be a strong candidate for William Hearst/CSU Trustees' Scholarship in the future. She will be excellent student to represent Fresno State and the CSU system.