Black Colleges Join National Initiative to Re-Imagine the First Year Experience

Several public historically black colleges have been named to a national pilot program which seeks to redefine the first-year experience for college students. 

Fayetteville State University, Harris-Stowe State University, North Carolina Central University and Winston-Salem State University are all part of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ ‘Re-Imagining the First Year’ program, a three-year initiative designed to increase retention and graduation rates for freshmen and continuing education students through intervention and monitoring. 

“We are honored for Harris-Stowe State University to be selected as one of 44 AASCU institutions to participate in the “Re-Imagine the First Year” project, which will help us continue to improve our graduation rates and augment overall student success,” said Harris-Stowe State President Dwaun Warmack.  “As an urban HBCU we have been committed to providing access and higher educational opportunities for underserved students. Our inclusion in AASCU’s three-year project will give us the chance to strengthen our first-year practices, as well as offer meaningful recommendations to member institutions in the program.”  

The program, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will offer training to faculty and staff to increase student success outcomes by way of national webinars and campus consultation. 

“Our inclusion recognizes our leadership and achievements in increasing student enrollment, outperforming all UNC schools in 2015-16, and growing our rate of retention from 69.9 percent to 80 percent in just two years,” said North Carolina Central Chancellor Debra Saunders-White. “We look forward to our first-year college professionals’ continued exposure to best practices that will impact NCCU student engagement and four-year completion rate.”


Paul Quinn Headlines HBCU Partners in Oakland Youth Education Initiative

Several historically black colleges and universities will be announced today as part of a growing alliance of corporate, non-profit and educational partners in the Oakland Promise Initiative, a program that will bring together resources and preparatory programming for low-income minority youth in Oakland, CA. 

The initiative, which will launch this afternoon at Oakland High School, has raised more than $25 million dollars in start-up funds to support scholarships, college savings accounts and secondary education tutoring programs to improve the city’s 10 percent graduation rate for entering ninth-graders.

Participating HBCUs will offer a range of benefits to qualifying students, including guaranteed admission, tuition, books, and other expenses. Paul Quinn College will offer full-tuition and room and board for students completing all requirements. 

“We know this community, and our part of its fabric,” said Paul Quinn President Michael Sorrell. “We believe that what we do is perfect for the young people in Oakland. They need people who understand urban issues and students, and we believe we can offer something whereby they can be taught to be entrepreneurial, and to work against fleeing Oakland, but returning reinvesting in the communities where the grew up.”

Other institutions include Allen University, Cheney University, Harris-Stowe State University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, Texas College and Virginia University of Lynchburg.