Our institution, the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, has made enormous progress on the crisis in student success. In the 1980s, UMBC had a six-year graduation rate for all freshmen of just more than 30 percent, and for Black freshmen, the rate was 10 percentage points lower. Through a range of interventions, we have increased our six-year graduation rate to 70 percent overall, not including the 10 percent who transfer and graduate elsewhere. Moreover, we have no Black-white graduation gap.
Thirty years ago, the university administration (including one of the authors of this piece, Freeman Hrabowski) and faculty began thinking strategically about student success. The institution developed a program to support talented Black undergraduates in the natural sciences and engineering. Based on that program’s outcomes, the university also developed similar strategies for improving learning outcomes for students of all races, across fields. In 2005, UMBC established an office of