Among the awards presented were 22 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.
In addition, nine participants earned AAMSI blazers. This high honor signifies earning 2,000 or more engagement points. The program’s 15 community mentors and the students they work with also were recognized along with the program’s 16 graduates.
African American male college students have experienced low graduation rates for decades, and the AAMSI program was established to improve those numbers. 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 third year, the program has grown tremendously, with 148 students enrolled since the program was piloted in 2019. Plans call for further expansion of the program, with an eventual goal of impacting all African American males who are interested.
The results have been dramatic. During the 2020-2021 academic year, the college-wide persistence rate of students enrolling in Fall 2020 and again in Spring 2021 was 72% while 77% of AAMSI students persisted. Retention rates reflect fall-to-fall enrollment. For the 2020-2021 period, white males were retained at 58.8%, African American males not participating in AAMSI were retained at 42.4%, and AAMSI scholars were retained at 60.4%.
AAMSI is funded by community donors who have contributed more than $1.1 million to grow and sustain the initiative.