SDSU receives CSU funding for Black student success

As part of a $4.6 million allocation going to universities across the CSU system, SDSU will receive $125,000 to support Black student success.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Photo of SDSU's Hepner Hall
SDSU will receive $125,000 from the California State University system to support projects that help to address Black student enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

San Diego State University will receive $125,000 as part of a more than $4.6 million in allocations of one-time dollars the California State University system is allocating to advance Black student success and elevate Black excellence across the system. 

“Thanks to the efforts of many – staff, faculty, student leaders and alumni – our university has become known as a bellwether for supporting our Black students and also for reducing systemic barriers to success,” SDSU President Adela de la Torre said about the funding allocation. 

“Higher education remains a proven pathway to social and economic mobility, so we must prioritize the success of our Black students,” de la Torre said. “There are not only tangible advantages for the students themselves, but also lifelong benefits for their families and the communities where they ultimately decide to live and work.” 

At SDSU, the university has prioritized efforts to reach and support Black students through a multi-level approach. The university has for years been involved with Gospel Fest and Super Sunday, working closely with faith-based organizations in Black community to support college-going habits among youth and their families. 

In 2018, SDSU established the Black Resource Center, which is home to programs that include the Harold K. Brown Knowledge, Education and Empowerment Program (KEEP), Black Excellence Experience (B.E.E.) and the Henrietta Goodwin Scholars (HGS) program. SDSU also has a Black Excellence Learning Community, serving dozens of students. 

And, just recently, the university enjoyed world-wide attention after brothers Ron and Lloyd Dong Jr. and their families donated $5 million to SDSU’s Black Resource Center. 

“Seeing the success of African Americans/Blacks in academia serves as inspiration and motivation for current and future generations of Black students,” said Tonika Green, SDSU’s associate vice president for campus community affairs.

“For too many of our elders and others within our community today, the environment we have created for our students is exactly what we wanted and needed decades and generations ago,” said Green, also a professor in the Department of Counseling and School of Psychology. 

In 2022-23, 396 African American students earned SDSU degrees, a 35% increase from nearly a decade earlier. About 62 of those degrees were graduate degrees, an increase from 46 in 2013-14.

“Representation within a welcoming environment matters, and supporting Black student success helps increase both their representation and success in higher education,” said Brandon Gamble, director of the Black Resource Center. 

While SDSU’s data show improvements in enrollment and graduation rates of Black and African American students, continuing to eliminate equity gaps remains a priority for SDSU and the CSU. 

The CSU’s more than $4.6 million in funding is part of the system’s committed $10 million Black Student Success allocation over the next three years. Throughout the system, the funding will support projects that help to address Black student enrollment, retention and graduation rates.

“Leaders—at the system level and across the CSU’s 23 universities—are thinking broadly and

acting boldly to advance institutional change and further the momentum of the Black Student Success report,” said CSU Chancellor Mildred García

“With a primary focus on ensuring that Black students attain their academic goals and are positioned for a lifetime of success,” García continued, “we also intend this funding to strengthen enrollment and retention efforts, improve classroom experiences, and bolster staff and faculty development across the system.”

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