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Post-Secondary Success at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

The REL Southeast's Post-Secondary Success at Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs) partnerships focus on enhancing the awareness and use of research-based knowledge and strategies to improve student retention, matriculation, and outcomes (i.e., graduation rates). The partnerships are also designed to further enhance the capacity of faculty to conduct and engage in collaborative research with state, local, and community educational agencies to improve student outcomes for students in K-12 and post-secondary settings.

A long-term goal of the partnerships is to produce rigorous, policy and practice-relevant research and resources to inform initiatives and innovations in post-secondary settings. The short-term objectives to meet this goal are accomplished through a combination of research and training, coaching, and technical support activities determined by the partnering institutions with REL Southeast staff. A secondary goal is to expand the network of partners in the southeast region to support access and success for traditionally underserved and underrepresented racial and ethnic students in these settings.

Partnering Institutions

Mississippi Consortium

National Institutes for Historically-Underserved Students

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

About HBCUs

In Executive Order 13779, White House Initiative to Promote Excellence and Innovation at HBCUs, the United States Department of Education reported that the Nation’s over 100 HBCUs—many situated in the Southeast region—serve more than 300,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students (USDOE, 2017).

HBCUs have a historical mission and demonstrated commitment to serving students from underrepresented groups and underserved populations; therefore, they are committed to improving the educational outcomes for key groups including underrepresented racial/ethnic students, traditionally underprepared students, and those from low-socio economic backgrounds.

Research has documented the contribution of HBCUs in disproportionally enrolling and educating black students at a national level. For instance, despite the fact that HBCUs account for only 3 percent of the nation’s colleges and universities, HBCUs enroll almost 10 percent of all African American undergraduates and award 17 percent of all bachelor’s degrees received by African-American students. Most notably, HBCUs award 24 percent of all bachelor’s degrees received by African Americans in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields (Saunders & Nagle, 2018).

Resources to learn more about HBCUs


La'Tara Osborne-LampkinLa’Tara Osborne-Lampkin

Dr. La’Tara Osborne-Lampkin, Ph.D. is a Senior Research Associate at the Florida Center for Reading Research. As an education policy and research scholar, her research spans both K‑12 and higher education. She examines local implementation and decision-making around policy initiatives and reform efforts designed to increase the educational outcomes for underserved student populations, students in low-performing schools, and at minority serving institutions. Dr. Osborne-Lampkin serves as the lead qualitative methodologists on all qualitative and mixed-methods projects.

What Does Success Look Like?