Report: SVSU among worst in nation for graduation rates among bl - WNEM TV 5

Report: SVSU among worst in nation for graduation rates among blacks

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When it comes to choosing a college a new report shows it matters where you go, especially if you're black.

The report looked at graduation rates for black students at universities nationwide and identified the best and worst performing schools.

Saginaw Valley State University officials said they know the graduation rate among African Americans is a problem and they are working to fix it.

"It's not surprising to me, but the students are really making an effort to change that number," said Darcy Dunham, student at SVSU.

Dunham will graduate in May. According to a recent study she is ahead of the curve.

The Education Trust put out its latest numbers, ranking SVSU near the bottom of the nation when it comes to graduation rates of African Americans who begin their college career at SVSU.

"They can make sure they have a strong hand in being accountable and accommodating to African American and diversity students," Dunham said.

The latest data states only 16 percent of African Americans graduate in six years. Nearly 30 percent less than their white counterparts.

Clift Roach is one of the 16 percent who will graduate.

"As I got on in my later years I met some individuals who were like-minded. And I was able to stick with that group and we can pretty much hold each other accountable for our success academically," Roach said.

School officials said they are taking action.

"Earlier this academic year our provost put together a committee that is working on particularly this issue. What can we do to eliminate that disparity between the graduation rates for our white students and for our ethnic minority students," said J.J. Boehm, SVSU spokesperson.

Boehm said retention rates among black students are improving, paving the way for better graduation rates in the future.

"We'll have meetings on campus. We have groups of students. We have people again who are trying to talk to students and really learn from them about what are some of the challenges that you see so that we can try to come up with solutions that will meet their needs," Boehm said.

College can be tough for all students, but Dunham had advice on how to persevere and get your degree.

"It is OK to struggle. It is OK to fight, but it's only a bad thing when you try to hide it from yourself. So you accept it and say I'm struggling here, but I can make myself stronger. You will never give up and you will never lose. You can only win in that situation" Dunham said.

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