African-American male students at institutions of higher education have been the focus of a variety of recent policy and program intervention efforts nationally. The University System of Georgia’s (USG) African-American Male Initiative (AAMI), launched in September 2002, is directed at addressing the disproportionately low rates of college matriculation by black males within Georgia’s public colleges and universities. The USG’s AAMI seeks to increase the enrollment, retention, and graduation of black male students by funding institution-specific, customized programming focused on four key components: academic skills enrichment, student support services, adult and peer mentoring, and leadership development.
Despite similar efforts at postsecondary institutions across the country, little is known about whether and how such programs improve outcomes, whether some program components are more effective than others, or whether some students benefit more from these programs than others. The USG’s AAMI program is notable given its longevity and its scale (26 programs on the USG’s 30 public college campuses).
MDRC launched the evaluation of the USG’s AAMI in 2016, with funding from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences, through its College Completion Network. The College Completion Network’s mission is to evaluate the impacts and determine the costs of strategies designed to support increased degree attainment among students attending open- or broad-access postsecondary institutions.
The goal of the evaluation, which will be the first randomized controlled trial of a program of this type, is to test the effectiveness of the AAMI programs at five open- or broad-access member institutions within the USG. The study will provide reliable evidence on the impacts and costs of the common strategies that the five colleges use to increase completion rates among males of color.