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CCU first in S.C. to be recognized for exceptional standards of inclusion

January 26, 2021
CCU has been recognized for excellence in inclusion for low-income and first-generation college students by Strive for College.CCU has been recognized for excellence in inclusion for low-income and first-generation college students by Strive for College.

Coastal Carolina University has been recognized for excellence in inclusion for low-income and first-generation college students by Strive for College, which honors colleges and universities that excel in five key areas of distinction. Coastal Carolina is the first institution in South Carolina to be recognized for meeting exceptional standards of inclusion.

Strive for College, a nonprofit organization, created a set of “Strive Five” distinctions centered on data-based measures of actual performance in five key areas that demonstrate a tangible commitment to students who are traditionally underrepresented on college campuses.

“Coastal Carolina University is committed to college access and success for our students,” said Atiya Stokes-Brown, CCU’s vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, and a professor of political science. “We are excited to partner with Strive for College to increase opportunity and access for students from traditionally underserved communities and resolve to consistently and proactively engage in efforts that facilitate the realization of academic achievements, personal growth, and development for our students.”

The “Strive Five” distinctions include:

• Inclusion – More than 25% of undergraduates receive Pell Grants, meaning at least one in four students come from a low-income family. Nationally, 32% of undergraduates receive Pell Grants across all postsecondary institutions.

• Diversity – More than 40% of undergraduates are Black, Latino, or Native American, meaning one in two students comes from an underrepresented minority group. 40% approximates the national average of undergraduates from underrepresented minority groups across all postsecondary institutions.

• Affordability – Colleges with a net price of less than $13,500 for low-income students, approximately the national average net price for students from households with incomes less than $30,000 who received Title IV federal financial aid across all four-year institutions.

• Completion – Colleges that meet or exceed the national averages for retention (more than 81% first-year to second-year retention rate) and graduation (greater than 51% six-year graduation rate for Pell Grant recipients).

• Outcomes – More than 25% of graduates who were from the bottom fifth of incomes as students and moved to the top fifth as adults, meaning they have among the highest percentage of students who both came from a lower-income family and ended up a higher-income adult.

CCU received the inclusion distinction because in 2019, 36% of its undergraduate students received Pell Grants.

The University recently adopted its diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic plan in an effort to increase diversity and affordability, and improve retention and graduation outcomes for all of its students. This plan creates and sustains CCU’s inclusive learning, living, and working environment, where all members of campus feel they are welcomed, respected, valued, and supported.