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The remedy for lifting HBCU graduation rates rests with us! (277 hits)


As HBCUs grapple with raising their graduation rates, I am compelled to point out that the only people capable of actually achieving this VERY ACHIEVABLE goal are us – Black people and others who genuinely love HBCUs.

Raising HBCU graduation rates requires a comprehensive, by any means necessary, FUBU (FOR US, BY US) approach to ensuring that far more of our children earn their degrees instead of dropping out due to reasons we must no longer allow to occur on our watch.

It requires a complete divorce from the white gaze, its false narrative about who we are and what we’re capable of and comparisons to its institutions that have never, ever experienced what HBCUs have. HBCUs are our responsibility and fam, it’s time for OPERATION GRADUATION, an all hands on deck approach that begins with raising the graduation rates.

First on the list is making it completely unacceptable for students who are academically, mentally and emotionally capable of handling collegiate requirements to leave school because they do not have enough money. There are several avenues through which Black America can reallocate a portion of its $1.8 TRILLION spending power to a fund specifically created to rescue students and their families when money falls short enough to threaten their enrollment. No HBCU co-ed proficient enough to earn their degree should leave school because they do not have enough money. Period.

As it relates to students, those earnestly desiring an HBCU education must commit to doing their part to remain there. It is incumbent upon HBCU students to balance their college experience by ensuring that classwork and educational obligations are not overshadowed by extra-curricular fun. We want our students to enjoy their college experience, just not at the expense of their degree.

Families are a huge yet underutilized factor in HBCU graduation rates. Their expectations alone are undoubtedly the strongest positive indicators factoring into a young adult’s resilience and determination to stick it out when the going gets tough. Many families, especially those sending off the first in the family to attend college, are not aware of the subtle yet deeply significant role they play in their child’s college experience.

But when people know better, they do better. OPERATION GRADUATION helps families to do better.

Families are one of several symbiotic facets capable of significantly raising HBCU graduation rates. Help families understand how to use what they already share – love, support, togetherness, etc. to help their child graduate and, mark my words, graduation rates will increase. When more students graduate, beautiful ripple effects flow throughout the entire HBCU experience enhancing morale, alumni participation, funding and donor relations, enrollment, revenue, HBCU pride, endowment status and more.

Before any of those outcomes can occur, however, WE must first BELIEVE that our children have what it takes to graduate. They do, but to truly activate their potential in a widespread manner that has them motivating themselves and each other, we must do everything we can to set them up for the win.

That begins with the people they love and trust more than anyone else – their families – which is where OPERATION GRADUATION begins.

OPERATION GRADUATION helps families use a simple family meeting to create a GRADUATION ACTION PLAN (GAP). It’s the foundation of the MISSION POSSIBLE workbook, which provides the step by step process for families to use throughout their child’s college journey.

OPERATION GRADUATION helps families articulate their expectations while also equipping them with awareness of resources and strategies to activate if/when students need help. It helps empower families to be the safety net their child needs by proactively engaging their co-ed throughout their collegiate experience to keep everyone’s eyes on the prize – graduation.

We simply cannot continue doing the same things, expecting different results. We cannot beg for external solutions to alleviate longstanding obstacles that can only be eradicated by our untapped individual and collective brilliance. We have what it takes to heal Black America, to prosper Black America, to transform Black America and because they are the only Black institution to remain untouched by colonization, HBCUs play an integral role.

When HBCUs thrive, Black America thrives and increasing graduation rates is just the beginning.

Visit www.hbcuoperationgraduation.com for more information.
Posted By: Michelle Hollinger
Thursday, August 3rd 2023 at 12:31AM
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