HBCUs Receive $1.5 Million to Increase Graduation Rates

Lumina Foundation targets retention for innovative new student outcomes initiative.

Lumina Foundation targets retention for innovative new student outcomes initiative.

Three HBCUs are part of a new $1.5 million pilot program to increase graduation rates among black students nationwide.

Howard University, Morgan State University and Dillard University are new members of the HBCU Student Success Project, a three-year program funded by the Lumina Foundation to spur improved retention rates for low-income students through intrusive academic advising, predictive analytics monitoring and professional work experiences.

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Officials at each school say that the initiative is an important program to highlight black colleges as an ideal setting for engaging diverse student groups from varying socioeconomic backgrounds.

“In spring 2016, we launched Morgan’s 50 by 25 Campaign as a university-wide effort to increase graduation rates at Morgan to 50 percent by the year 2025,” said Morgan State President David Wilson. “And with Lumina’s support over the next three years, we are hoping to improve student retention by 4 percent while significantly increasing on-time and six-year completion rates on the road to that goal.”

“We’re very excited to be a part of this cohort of institutions as we work to identify at-risk students and develop effective strategies to guide them to graduation,” said Dr. Nia Haydel, Director of the Dillard Academic Center for Excellence. “We’ve had the data, now we have the opportunity to convert that data into intervention models that help our faculty and staff serve our students better.”

According to federal data, Howard post the consortium’s highest graduation rate with more than 60 percent of students completing degrees within six years. Dillard and Morgan State are at 41 and 33 percent, respectively.