Black Male Initiative Collaborates with Education from the Inside Out Coalition

By Bernell B. Frank Jr. (Bfrankjr), student, SUNY Empire State College

January 16, 2015

Bernell Frank Jr.The Black Male Initiative (BMI) at SUNY Empire State College’s Metropolitan Center was created to increase the college retention rates and educational successes of black male students. Operating as a club at SUNY Empire State college for close to four years, the BMI program has held a host of fund raisers and established the first ever BMI Scholarship for eligible students within our school.

After serious consideration and in line with their social responsibility initiatives, the BMI has included the efforts of Education From the Inside Out Coalition (EIO Coalition) in advocating for the removal of three common higher education barriers that negatively impact people of color formerly involved with the criminal justice system who attempt to enter the New York State University system. EIO Coalition and BMI have resolved to remove the following barriers from the college application process through advocacy and legislation:

  • A Campaign to reinstate Pell Grant’s eligibility to incarcerated students
  • A Campaign to remove criminal history screenings from college applications
  • A campaign to reinstate TAP Grant’s eligibility to incarcerated students in New York State.

According to an EIO Coalition Fact Sheet, nationwide, 43.3% of formerly incarcerated individuals are likely to return to prison within three years of release. The likelihood drops to 5.6% for bachelor’s degree recipients and less than 1% for Master’s degree recipients. Thus BMI’s partnership with EIO Coalition on these issues expands the organization’s goals of creating innovative programs for people of color. In the upcoming months the two organizations will hold community events to garner support for the aforementioned effort.

To volunteer, or for more information on Education from the Inside Out Coalition, please visit their website at Information about the BMI at SUNY Empire State College’s Metropolitan Center can be found on their website at

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Article Contributors

Bernell Frank Jr.

Merodie Hancock

Terri Hilton

Mary Morton

Samantha Williams

Erin Young

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