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USF receives grant to help recruit more Black students

The gift from Helios Education Foundation will be used for a consultant to study the pipeline of students coming from surrounding counties.
 
Tampa Bay Students for Democratic Society along with USF students frustrated with the climate on campus toward Black students protest outside Lifsey House, the university president's home in July. The university has since accelerated efforts to boost Black enrollment.
Tampa Bay Students for Democratic Society along with USF students frustrated with the climate on campus toward Black students protest outside Lifsey House, the university president's home in July. The university has since accelerated efforts to boost Black enrollment. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Dec. 4, 2020|Updated Dec. 4, 2020

The University of South Florida has received a $60,000 grant from the Helios Education Foundation to hire a consultant who will help the school in its efforts to recruit more Black students.

The university, its network of Black alumni and the foundation will work with the consultant to study the student pipeline from local high schools and community colleges within the six counties surrounding USF, according to a news release this week.

Related: What is it like to be Black at USF? The protests have people talking.

While Black students have the highest retention rate of all racial groups at USF, the number of Black students enrolled has decreased by 2.4 percent over 5 years, the release stated.

Paul Dosal, vice president for student success at USF who will co-chair the initiative, said in the statement the grant builds on an existing partnership of working with the foundation.

“This investment will reinvigorate our access for success approach to enrollment planning so that we can provide even more opportunities for Black students to attain a college degree,” he said.

USF alumnus Anddrikk Frazier, a founding member of the USF Black Leadership Network and the other co-chair of the initiative, said in the release he hopes the effort helps identify and remove access barriers.

“In order for us to truly be the best university in the state of Florida, we have to be able to recruit and retain the most talented students in our own backyard,” he said.

Related: USF hears from black faculty, staff: Do more to end systemic racism

Paul J. Luna, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, said in a statement that the university and Helios share the goal of expanding access to higher education.

“The resulting insights from the grant work will ultimately strengthen our community with a more diverse and educated workforce,” he said.

The statement said a series of recommendations is expected to be complete by this spring.

The university also launched an anti-racism section to its website this week, where it will keep track of the work started this summer and invite members of the community to submit ideas.