An innovative initiative that fosters academic and social integration, promotes student engagement, and creates a sense of belonging leading to better persistence, retention, and completion rates for African American males at Greenville Technical College.
By the Numbers
AAMSI Scholars served since inception
committed to support AAMSI since 2019
of AAMSI Scholars are first-generation college students
Addressing Racial and Gender Achievement Gaps
The African American Male Scholars Initiative strives to increase retention and graduation rates, promote social and economic mobility, and develop leadership potential among African American males enrolled at Greenville Technical College.
Removing Barriers, Strengthening Pathways
Greenville Technical College’s African American Male Scholars Initiative (AAMSI) is an innovative program designed to address racial and gender achievement gaps by providing intensive case management and personalized support services that help participants overcome barriers, develop academic and career pathways, and graduate on time.
AAMSI provides support services like:
- Intensive advising
- Lunch and Learn events
- Textbook stipends
- Cultural engagement activities
- Mentoring and Tutoring
- Emergency financial assistance
- Connection to college and community resources
The College’s mission is tied directly to reducing poverty and bolstering economic self-sufficiency by not only broadening access to postsecondary education, but also ensuring solid student success intervention programs exist that will help all students not just enroll, but also persist and cross the finish line to a degree. By collectively removing the systemic barriers that hold people back, we can strengthen the pathways that propel all people forward.
Key results from AAMSI’s most recent annual performance progress report from an outside evaluator include:
- The key benefits reported by AAMSI scholars were:
- A Sense of community/bonding through a brotherhood and other support networks
- Academic support from AAMSI staff and other advocates to navigate challenges
- Having mentors expose AAMSI scholars to successful African-American men
- Connection to a variety of educational and community resources
- Academic Results:
- The persistence rate for AAMSI students who enrolled in Fall 2021 and returned in Spring 2022 was 91% (75% for GTC overall).
- 60.4% of AAMSI scholars were retained from one year to the next (Fall 2020 to Fall 2021).GTC white males were retained at 58.8%; African-American males not in AAMSI at 42.4%)
- 24 AAMSI scholars graduated with at least one certificate or Associate’s Degree in last 2 years
- 23 on Dean’s List (minimum 3.0 GPA taking at least 6 credits) in last year
- 1 on President’s List (4.0 GPA taking 12 credit hours) in last year
- 21 have earned AAMSI Jackets (earned 1000 AAMSI engagement points)
Tyrone Wright ’21
Tyrone transferred to Greenville Technical College after dropping out of University of South Carolina because he couldn’t afford tuition. He worked three jobs to save some money before applying for GTC’s Nursing program because he knew he’d have to cut his work hours to be able to focus on school. After being injured on the job, Tyrone received support from GTC’s Student Disability Services Office and AAMSI, “The extra support took the stress off and helped me through,” says Tyrone, “During COVID, AAMSI’s virtual components kept me connected, like we’re a family.”
“I had many setbacks. I could talk with the AAMSI counselor about a lot of the things I was going through. AAMSI has been great because I was stressed from head to toe.” Tyrone graduated with his nursing degree in May 2021. He is now a nurse with Prisma and hopes to become a mentor with AAMSI to give back to other black men.
“With AAMSI, you have someone there to guide you along. It makes a difference because you’re not in it alone. You have someone to lean on. When you try to do everything on your own, it’s kind of rough.”
Spurred by a desire to show his children the value of a college education, Antione came to Greenville Technical College as a non-traditional student – he served in the military and worked for many years before returning to college. “I really didn’t know there were people out there supporting what [AAMSI] is trying to do. People who don’t even know me, are behind it. And I’m living proof that it helps, said Marshall. “This degree is going to happen. And it would not be possible without the support of donors.”
Levius was struggling in his English Composition class and was in danger of failing the class. He had convinced himself he could not be successful and took steps to withdraw from Greenville Technical College. AAMSI staff intervened and with their support, Levius was connected to additional services to build up his confidence and help him develop study skills – he had never learned how to study before.
Using his new study skills, Levius passed the class and even made honor roll! When Levius checked his grades, he told his mom, “I was up late after work every night grinding, because I’m determined. Anything is possible, nothing is impossible. When you want something, you gotta go get it!”