In the African American community, involvement in the church has long been cited as a likely factor in determining whether urban young people graduate high school and go on to college. So, it makes sense that administrators from the California State University system would want to partner with the state’s black churches to preach “the gospel of higher education” to the urban community’s middle school children and their parents.
The goal is to increase the college enrollment of black students in the Cal-State University system. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, the effort, which will reach some 90 churches this month, is having a positive effect. Though black students only represent about 6 percent of all CSU students (compared with about 8 percent of high school seniors in California), applications to CSU from black students have soared from 8,737 in 2005 when the “Super Sunday” campaign began to 15,550 in 2009 — a 78 percent increase.
CSU is targeting its message to the families of middle-school children, preaching the message that it’s never too early to prepare for college.
“Today, only 1 in 5 African American students is eligible for CSU,” Mo Qayoumi, president of Cal-State University-East Bay, told the hundreds of congregants who packed the pews last Sunday at Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church in West Oakland. “Partner with us so we can get the other four eligible, too!”
Read more about “CSU’s “Super Sunday” program here, and let’s hope other colleges and universities will be inspired to develop similar programs to reach African American and urban youth at an early age.