In addition, the graduation rate for black men in the University System is now 40 percent, and the percent of black male freshmen returning as sophomores is 77 percent.
“A college degree is the ticket to economic viability. We have increased the number of black men earning degrees in a wide variety of fields and disciplines, which has allowed them to sustain themselves economically,” said Perry-Johnson, who is also the vice president of external affairs at Kennesaw State University.
Many participated in programs such as Providing Resources to Ignite Male Excellence at Georgia Tech; Brother 2 Brother at Atlanta Metropolitan College; and Project MENtorship at Southern Polytechnic State.
“My office sees every African-American male at the university as a target for our efforts to help them to graduate,” said the University of West Georgia’s Jack Jenkins, who oversees the school’s AAMI programming.
UWG is 30 percent black, and the AAMI program features tutoring, mentoring and bonding programs for men if they want it.
With its downtown Atlanta location and its affordability, Georgia State attracts many black students. In fall 2011, more than one-third of its 32,000 students were black, giving it the biggest African-American population of any school in the state. (By comparison, only 8 percent of the University of Georgia’s 35,000 students were black.)
“We try to reach them while they are in high school. Our recruiters go out, but we welcome everyone, even sixth- and seventh-graders,” said David Smith Jr., Georgia State’s assistant director for the office of African-American student services. “We give them tours of the campus, let them interact with students, give them financial aid briefings and encourage them to pursue graduate degrees once they get here.”