More Blacks Attending College - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

06/25/07 - Nacogdoches

More Blacks Attending College

by Donna McCollum

Kent Willis of Grapeland is SFA's student body president. The achievement has personal and widespread significance. The African American said,    " I represent my race very well, but I represent the students the best that I can no matter who they are. And just show no matter who you are, no matter where you are from, you can step up and be in any position you want to be. "

That's more likely to happen across sixteen southern states, now that blacks make up 21 percent of college students and 19 percent of the population.   The number represents progress but it also has be be seen in context. A major contributing factor is the south's rapidly growing Hispanic population, which has reduced the proportion of the population that is black. At SFA African American enrollment has grown from 14.7 percent in 2002 to 16.6 percent last year.

Multicultural Center Director Urisonya Robertson said,  " I think we have made some strides and we're moving in the right direction, but of course that's something we have to continue to press upon and continue to research, continue to find new ways. "  

The milestone is significant, but concern remains over graduation rates and retention of African Americans which lags behind whites. The demographic studies guide university marketing practices and keep diversified recruitment on track. Robertson said,  " I think it's definitely a step in the right direction. Can we do more? Yes.

Willis attributes the growth in college enrollment among blacks to mostly the students. He says they realize the importance of a college education when looking for a good job. " And that fact alone is the driving force in every community no matter what race, nationality you are," said the Public Communication major.  a good message from a leader who represents his race, as well as a diversified student body. 

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