Pennsylvania Community College Has Success in Boosting Retention Rate of Black Male Students

Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, like many of its peer institutions, has had poor retention and graduation rates, particularly for black men. Blacks make up about 9 percent of the 11,000-member student body at the two-year college. Only about 10 percent of black students who enroll obtain an associate’s degree at the college within three years.

In an effort to boost black male retention, the college established the Spartan Pros program. Participants in the program meet with a faculty adviser once every two weeks. In addition, the participants meet in a group to discuss any problems they confront.

The program has had initial success. Of the 22 black males who enrolled in the program, 20 are still enrolled at Northampton and one transferred to a four-year college. Only one of the 22 black males dropped out of school.