Retention should be a focus for historically black colleges, says report

A new study by the Society for College and University Planning suggests that student retention should be a priority for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. Student retention is the process of making sure that students who enroll in degree programs don't drop out or transfer to other colleges.

The survey polled 99 HBCUs, a third of which responded to the study. Academic leaders were asked to rate the importance of things such as student retention, faculty recruitment, graduation rates and declining numbers of college applications.

Although the results were inconclusive, with the majority of respondents saying all the factors were of equal importance, the authors of the study suggest that retaining African American students should be a priority.

"The group’s conclusion at this summit was that marketing all their strengths – as HBCUs and high-quality institutions of learning – will be a continuing focus and challenge over the next decade," reads the report. "Adequate funding to meet the challenges they face is an ongoing issue for HBCUs, one that affects infrastructure, financial aid and student retention."

Although student retention was recommended as a primary focus of many HBCUs, graduation rates and ongoing financial aid programs were also cited as being important. 

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