African American College Enrollment Up

Black college enrollment is up significantly.  For the first time, the number of African American college students in the South is the same as the region's population.  The report by the Southern Regional Education Board was released Monday.  16 states were measured, including Georgia and Alabama.

The African American population at Columbus State University is growing.  Since 2002, black enrollment has increased by 50 percent.  Those students make up 32 percent of the population.

CSU Minority Affairs Coordinator, Bernard McCrary attributes the growth to the HOPE Scholarship, strong mentoring programs and diverse student activities.

CSU Senior, Edward Senior, says African Americans have a strong presence on campus.  He says,"We come out and support our Greeks. We support various things that we have going on around here. I would say it's a close knit population."

Junior, Patavious Sorrell, is very active in his student body.  He believes modern day attitudes are motivating more black students to go to college.

"Now people today see that having an education is not a bad thing," he says.  "Having an education is basically a good thing, you can make it further in life."

McCrary says, "Families are becoming more educated now and they're pushing their children to go off and go to college to better themselves and get an education."

A major contributing factor to the increase in black enrollment is the South's rapidly growing Hispanic population.  Hispanics have reduced the proportion of the population that is black. That's made the milestone easier to reach mathematically.

dsinger@wtvm.com