Fewer African American Students Graduate from College
President Obama delivered his commencement address to the Class of 2010 at Hampton University on May 9, 2010. This is the first predominately African-American school that President Obama has spoken at. More African-American students are attending college today than ever before. Today, 55 percent of African-American high school seniors go on to pursue a college education, up from only 45 percent in 1970.
Unfortunately, not even half of these students will graduate. Only 43 percent of these students will graduate within six years, which is 20 percent less than Caucasian students. Even more disturbing is that fact that only 36 percent African-American men who enter college will finish their degree.
Jared Council graduated from Hampton University this year, but he almost fell into the statistic of those who did not.
“I bought textbooks and didn’t open them,” Council said. “I skipped classes often.”
Luckily, Council got his act together and really applied himself to his studies. He is graduating on time with a 3.8 GPA.
Looking back on his college years, Council said: “What I learned from that is my success or my failure was totally up to me.”
Unlike Council, many students have to discontinue their educational pursuits. For 70 percent, the reason for dropping out is lack of financial aid. However, the New Education Reform Act will help provide financial aid to schools like Hampton University. Hampton University is a historically black college, and these colleges produce 25 percent of the nation’s African-American graduates.
Melanie French is another graduating senior at Hampton University. She attributes her success to the positive environment she found at Hampton.
“As soon as we stepped foot on campus, I could tell Hampton really wanted us to graduate,” she said. In order to stay on the track to graduation, French “stayed focused and surrounded [herself] with people who are also focused.’
Good advice for anyone who wants to graduate from college.
Via CBS News