Project M.O.S.T. receives $3M in funding; students recruited for membership

By Diana Fedinec

Project M.O.S.T. receives $3M in funding; students recruited for membership Project M.O.S.T. (Men of Southwest Tennessee) provides a variety of supports, resources and assistance to African American male students to help them complete their academic journey and achieve their full potential. Services include mentoring, tutoring and financial assistance.

Project M.O.S.T. was established in 2012 to increase the retention and graduation rates of the African American male student population. Serving 130 students each year, the program has met or exceeded all performance standards through its appreciative/intrusive case management model, bi-weekly self-improvement-themed success meetings, battery of assessments, tuition assistance and stipends. Project M.O.S.T. students graduate at rates that outpace Southwest’s overall graduation rate and national trends. On average, 72 percent of Project M.O.S.T. students graduate from Southwest, while Southwest’s rate is about 13 percent.  According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center’s July 2021 Persistence and Retention Report, the national retention rate for all ethnic groups enrolled in community colleges is 51.6 percent and for African Americans, the retention rate hovers at 44 percent.

Project M.O.S.T. is grant-funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Predominately Black Institutions (PBI) program that is designed to strengthen eligible institutions to plan, develop, undertake and implement programs to enhance the institution’s capacity to serve more low- and middle-income Black American students; to expand higher education opportunities for eligible students by encouraging college preparation and student persistence in secondary school and postsecondary education; and to strengthen the financial ability of the institution to serve the academic needs of these students.

In October 2021, the Project M.O.S.T. received a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's PBI program to improve the educational outcomes of students over a five-year period, providing $600,000 in funding per year. Southwest’s Student Success and SCORE (State Collaborative on Reforming Education) also awarded Project M.O.S.T. additional funding to support its annual Entrepreneurship Institute. 

Students ready to join this dynamic, evidenced-based program for African American males must be enrolled in Southwest full or part-time. Visit, call 901-333-5469 or email for application information. For more program details, contact Project M.O.S.T. Director Kariem-Abdul Salaam at