Grantee Video Spotlight: Black Male Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles

08/07/18

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Year of Grant: 2015

Amount Funded: $296,000

While access to a college education for racially underrepresented groups has steadily increased in the United States, there’s a sizable disparity in the rates of degree completion. As of 2011, the six-year graduation rate for black students was only 40% compared to 62% completion rate for white students.

The Black Male Institute (BMI) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) created Gateway to Graduation (G2G) to address this disparity. G2G is a series of four credit courses designed to provide black undergraduate students at UCLA with the institutional knowledge, support and skills needed to successfully graduate within five years. The educators at BMI recognized the disparities and completion rates stemmed from inequities in socioeconomic status, public policy, and institutional deficiencies, not from students’ individual commitment to learning.

ECMC Foundation granted funds to expand the program’s course offerings and enable BMI to quantify the program’s impact. G2G is comprised of three courses: Blacklimated and Sister-to- Sister, which are peer support courses that provide safe spaces for students to engage in meaningful dialogue about their individual and collective academic and social experiences. The third course covers financial literacy and provides students the knowledge to navigate financial aid and manage their own personal finances in college and beyond. Over the two year funding period, 186 students participated in the program.

The evaluation, which the ECMC Foundation grant supported, found that the GPAs of students who took G2G courses were an average of 0.3 points higher than non-participants and 100% participants from both cohorts are on track to graduate within four years. Additionally, UCLA’s black student enrollment has increased by 27% since 2015.

G2G have become cornerstones of the black student experience at UCLA and the BMI team says the ECMC Foundation funded evaluation will help them raise additional support to continue to facilitate students’ success.

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