STATEMENT OF DWAYNE ASHLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO THURGOOD MARSHALL COLLEGE FUND REGARDING THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARTICLE ABOUT HBCUS AND BLACK MALES
April 1, 2009 Direct: 202-715-3203
STATEMENT OF DWAYNE ASHLEY, PRESIDENT & CEO THURGOOD MARSHALL COLLEGE FUND REGARDING
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARTICLE ABOUT HBCUS AND BLACK MALES
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund publishes an annual demographics study of its 47 public
historically black colleges and universities detailing the successes and opportunities at its 47
member schools. Each report specifically addresses trends by gender in admission, recruitment,
enrollment, retention, diversity, and degrees conferred, among other areas. Based on 20 years
of trend data, we find that Black male enrollment at the public HBCUs overall has not
decreased. In fact, the data shows a steady increase over the past 20 years.
The current report is scheduled for release in May 2009, and it indicates that since 1986, Black
male enrollment in undergraduate degree programs at the public HBCUs increased by 31
percent to 63,256. Over this same 20-year period, Black males receiving their bachelor’s
degrees also increased, from 7,143 to 8,172.
In 2006, TMCF joined forces with HBCUs to document for replication, successful programs that
promoted retention and graduation success at HBCUs in the Models for Success research
series entitled: Supporting the Achievement and Retention of Black Males. The publication
examined innovative and culturally sensitive programs that led to enhanced retention, academic
success and increased graduation models for success at several HBCUs.
Many African American male students are first generation college students, and a large
percentage of them require some form of financial support towards their education. Coupled
with the historic social and economic barriers these young men often face, a supportive and
safe environment to excel becomes a requirement for success. HBCUs are uniquely positioned
to provide a nurturing and supportive environment that continues to yield enhanced academic,
retention and graduation success.
In an innovative demonstration project, TMCF joined forces with Southern University, the East
Baton Rouge Parish School System and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to turn a low
performing high school—Capitol High School—into a gender-based model that primarily serves
African American males. Surrounded by the nurturing culture of Southern University’s
professors, students and alumni, the male students have showed significant improvement in
attendance and academic success. Disciplinary problems at the renamed Capitol Pre-College
Academy for Boys have decreased dramatically, and parental involvement has increased.
Thurgood Marshall College Fund
April 1, 2009
Given the recent election of the first African-American President of the United States, African
American males can aspire to achieve a level of success that had been seen as unattainable for
Attending college is an exciting time for any young person, but it can also be a stressful time for
a family already stretched financially and feeling the weight of a strained economy. While
HBCUs are seeing some signs of success, there is still much to be done to turn the tide. High
expectations, student engagement, early strength’s identification and nurturing are key to
promoting retention and academic success for all students. Aligned with President Obama’s
goal for 2020, HBCUs and other minority serving institutions will continue to serve as a major
entry and access point for enhancing America’s college going population.
About Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc.
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Inc., named for the late U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice, was
established in 1987 and represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) located in 22
states with a population of well over 235,000 students. It is the only national organization of its type that provides
merit-based scholarships and programmatic support to students attending the nation’s public HBCUs. Over the last
21 years, TMCF has awarded more than $91 million in scholarships and programmatic and capacity support,
enabling more than 7,500 students to attend public HBCU. TMCF also provides internship programs and joins
corporate and foundation partners in providing leadership training and support to students preparing for
undergraduate and professional schools. TMCF is a 501(c) 3, tax-exempt organization.