African American Edge Initiative

What is Edge?

The Edge Initiative is designed to aid African American students in adjusting to college life through building a community among students and faculty through academic support, networking, financial support, and mentoring. Our desire is that you have an enjoyable academic experience and graduate in a timely manner. We encourage you to live up to your full academic and personal potential.  

Two happy students at commencement

Why Edge?

African American student retention rates are the lowest of any other racial or ethnic groups on campus. In Fall 2002, 73.6% of African American freshmen students returned for their sophomore year. By 2006, it increased to 78%, but still remained the lowest percentage of all racial or ethnic groups on campus. According to the 2008 final report of the Retention Oversight Group, “students’ race does not, in and of itself, influence retention." Instead, the students’ high school and first-term college GPAs are strong predictors of academic success.

It is evident that African American students on campus need a push to increase their GPAs and graduate on time. The research also shows that African American students who feel a sense of belonging, defined as feelings of membership in the larger community, develop a better attitude about their college or university.

Program Goals

The goal of the Edge Initiative is to provide formal, sustainable support from the University, and specifically African American faculty and staff, to give African American students an edge—the opportunity to see that they can succeed by working hard, while never giving up their identities.

Edge Scholars In the News

The highly ranked Fresno State Barking Bulldogs Debate Team includes outstanding Edge Scholars Charie Payne, Melissa Harris, Tyra Jones and Joseph Anderson.

Full Debate Team

The Barking Bulldog Debate Team 2014 - 2015

Melissa and Marvin after win

Edge Scholar Melissa Harris and Coach Marvin Carter Jr. after she won the Second Speaker Award at the Golden Gate Invitationals Tournament at San Francisco State.