The University of Maryland is nearing its state-imposed goal for the recruitment of black freshmen to the College Park campus, but falling behind in its attempts to keep them there, according to a report released yesterday.
A review of the campus' Equal Educational Opportunity Plan from 1980 to 1985 found that black students comprised 9.6 percent of the 4,189 full-time freshmen entering college for the first time in the fall of 1982, compared to 8.9 percent of 4,596 freshmen in 1980.
The goal set for the campus by the State Board for Higher Education is "between 10 and 12 percent."
But despite its largest black freshman class ever last fall, the university's total percentage of blacks declined from 7.6 percent in fall 1981 to 7.4 percent in fall 1982.
"While we are making progress and attracting black students to our campus, it is clear that we must now focus our full attention on how to retain them until they graduate," Chancellor John B. Slaughter said in a statement that accompanied the report.
Slaughter appointed William E. Kirwan, vice chancellor for academic affairs, to "develop a model retention plan" for the campus.
The retention rate of black seniors in 1982 was 47 percent, compared to 63 percent for whites.
A committee is currently working to recommend new programs for minority retention, Kirwan said, and he is reviewing existing programs and intends to contact administrators at other universities to see what they are doing.
The university operates a number of programs to help blacks (and others) stay in school, including tutoring services, counseling, financial aid and scholarship programs and an Office of Minority Student Education.
Kerwan said one of the primary problems with the university's retention effort is the lack of campus-wide coordination in the various departments and divisions.
"There is no overall coordination of retention programs and I think that is one of the things the chancellor is most interested in developing," Kerwan said.
Although unsure of the specific causes of the university's problems in retaining black students, Kerwan said some possible factors include the rising interest rates for student loans and a tight market for part-time jobs.