Black male enrollment at an all time low -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Black male enrollment at an all time low

December 16, 2002

At Valdosta State University, black males make up the smallest part of student population. But one South Georgia man is beating the odds, and helping VSU boost black male enrollment numbers.

Valdosta Aaron Reed is a star basketball player, art student, and dean's list recipient at Valdosta State University. But Aaron's in the smallest group here at VSU. He's one of only 653 African American male students.

"There's a lot more girls, white and black, and white males, but as a black male, it seems we're always in the minority and here at VSU it's no different," says Aaron. Aaron says he's beating the odds because he had encouraging and financially stable parents.

But not everyone's as lucky. "A lot of black men probably don't have the money or the support they need to attend college, maybe some sort of scholarship could help."

This fall, over 9,000 people filled out one of these VSU applications, but less than 7% of those were African-American males. But Aaron is working with the college's newly formed lay council to identify the things holding black males back and bring their low enrollment rates up.

"Anytime someone is not taking advantage of the education they can receive, it's a problem and this council will be beneficial not only for black men, but for the whole university system," says Lay Council Member Jim Black.

From 1997 to 2001, the number of African-American males at VSU decreased from 721 to 599. Last semester, that number slightly increased to 653 but members of the lay council hope their efforts will soon raise black male enrollment to over 1000.

VSU is the only college in Georgia with a council to recruit and retain African-American male students.

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