The African American Male Scholars Initiative at Greenville Technical College celebrated achievements of the group’s members in an outdoor awards presentation on April 21.
Among the awards presented were 14 special AAMSI jackets, given to students who earned 1,000 or more engagement points. These points were achieved by participating in activities including program orientation, advising sessions, lunch and learns, financial literacy training and counseling, while also maintaining a minimum 2.2 GPA. The program’s community mentors and the students they work with were also recognized.
AAMSI provides intensive case management and personalized support services that help participants overcome barriers, develop academic and career pathways, and graduate on time. Services include academic advisement, career services, financial supports to address unmet need in student aid, peer support, and leadership development and community service opportunities. Now in its second year, the program is at capacity with 100 students involved. Plans call for expansion of the program, with an eventual goal of impacting all African American males who are interested.
The program was established to address the retention rates and on-time completion rates of African American males at Greenville Technical College. A year-long study found that African American males had a retention rate of 43% compared to 56% for white students and an on-time completion rate of only 7%, half that of all males. National studies show that the poverty rate for African Americans is more than double the rate for whites. With poverty decreasing as educational attainment improves, Greenville Tech created this initiative to change college success rates and put economic mobility within reach.
AAMSI was made possible with seed money provided by the Graham Foundation and the Jolley Foundation. The program furthers the Graham Foundation’s value of supporting equity of opportunity and the Jolley Foundation’s mission of advancing efforts to eliminate the root causes and effects of poverty and discrimination. Both organizations have been strong supporters of the Greenville Tech Foundation and GTC students for many years.
Additional donors have ensured that the program can be sustainable. These supporters include Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Community Foundation of Greenville, Dabo’s All In Team Foundation, Hollingsworth Funds, Inc., Mary Louise Mims, Priester Foundation, Sisters of Charity Foundation, United Way of Greenville County, and World Acceptance Corporation.