Georgia Highlands College

GHC Receives Fourth Grant to Increase Minority Male Retention, Graduation

The University System of Georgia has awarded Georgia Highlands College a grant of $30,000 to continue building its program for minority male students. The USG began an initiative in 2003 to improve the enrollment, retention and graduation rates of this population, whose college success lagged behind other student cohorts. Each institution has created its own program to address the issue.

The GHC program, called Georgia Highlands African-American Male and Minority Excellence, or GHAME, began in 2008 with only seven students on the Floyd campus. Today there are 110 young men in the program from all GHC sites. Dr. Jon Hershey, dean of the Humanities Division, heads up the program at Highlands. He was honored with an award from the USG in 2010 for the impressive results in retention and graduation attained by GHAME.

And the numbers continue to look impressive. From fall 2010 to fall 2011, retention for all African-American male students was 49 percent. For Latino males it was 58 percent. For GHAME members of these two groups, the numbers increase to 79 percent and 87 percent, respectively. The retention rate for all students at GHC was 47 percent. However, among GHAME members, 79 percent returned to GHC last fall. Graduation rates were also strong among these two populations: 36 percent for GHAME members versus 10 percent for the overall student population.

Enrollment growth among black and Latino males has also spiked. Among African-American men, it increased by 36 percent in fall 2011 over the previous fall; Latino male enrollment increased by 29 percent. GHC's enrollment as a whole increased by five percent over the previous year.

Hershey said that eight institutions received grants for their programs, but only three received the highest amount possible. GHC was one of those three. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Georgia College and State University were the other two receiving the maximum amount. Other USG institutions receiving lesser grants included Armstrong Atlantic State College ($10,000), College of Coastal Georgia ($20,000), Georgia Gwinnett College ($10,000), Georgia Institute of Technology ($20,000) and Georgia Southern University ($20,000).

GHC's grant money will be used to fund activities for members of GHAME and the college's local chapter of Brother 2 Brother, a national organization that promotes the education and welfare of young black and Latino men.

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