Albany - - A Darton College program that helps qualified Black male students with financial assistance and advising was at risk of coming to a halt. The ACE Program stands for Achieving a College Education. It started in 2003 but ran out of federal funding. Darton officials just got word those funds will likely will be continued.
At 20 years old, Darryl Miller took the road less traveled by many of his friends.
"Well I'm majoring in biomedical technology so I plan finish out here, get my associates degree and transfer to Albany State so I can get my bachelors," he says.
Miller completed his first year at Darton and feels he's well on his way to achieving his goal. As a Black male student, Miller is in the minority on his college campus.
"African American males tend to be the smallest group of individuals that enter college, matriculate, and the numbers get smaller in terms of graduate numbers," says Wendy Wilson, Minority Advising Director.
So with the help of Congressman Sanford Bishop, officials started the ACE program at Darton in 2003 to recruit qualified black male students and develop programs to help retain them.
"It's targeted towards those who may be labeled at risk and who have had some academic challenges throughout high school, so we certainly want to help them with that foundation so that they will be successful as they matriculate on," Wilson says.
Two years later, the program ran out of federal money and Darton had to re-route funds from other programs to keep ACE afloat. This week, the college got good news. Congressman Bishop allocated $250,000 Darton and Albany State to keep the programs going.
"We we're elated to hear from the Congressman's office that he was going to place that confidence in us once again to assist in this effort," Wilson says.
An effort that gives students like Miller a chance.
"I think that's good. Any type of attraction to get more Black males to college is a good thing anyway," he says.
Because it will mean more people on campus that look like him, reflecting the diverse society we all live in.
After the first year of the ACE program at Darton, 42 % of Black male students in the program graduated within two years of entering Darton. That percentage exceeded the national graduation rate of 35 % for Black male students.