Washington, D.C., Nov. 15, 2012—Participation from a wide variety of stakeholder groups—including colleges and universities, community-based organizations, foundations, and think tanks—is necessary to improve Black men’s college readiness, postsecondary educational outcomes, and degree attainment rates according to a new report, A Role for Policymakers in Improving the Status of Black Male Students in U.S. Higher Education. The report, released today from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education, recommends that policymakers at all levels play a more active role in ensuring that Black male students have viable opportunities to attend and complete postsecondary degree programs.
The new publication urges federal and state policymakers, as well as other governing bodies, to take a more active role in efforts focused on improving college and university outcomes for Black men. While providing a summary of policy-relevant trends and issues concerning Black male college students, the report highlights a sampling of collaborative-based initiatives that postsecondary institutions across the country have implemented in recent years. Efforts include engaging on-campus and off-campus stakeholder groups, creating credit-bearing courses, and partnering with research centers and institutes.
Suggested Policy Interventions to Improve Black Male Student Success
The publication also recommends establishing policy interventions that are complementary to current promising practices.
- Funding Interventions: Focus new and existing funding on efforts that target Black men, specifically in the areas of college preparation, financial aid, and incarceration educational efforts.
- Data, Assessment, and Information Sharing Interventions: Use rigorous data to assess and scale initiatives focused on college completion, including state-funded initiatives, educational consortia, and applicable research studies and projects.
- Other Important Interventions: Challenge and rethink how relevant groups such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association—the policymaking organization for intercollegiate athletics—and other influential organizations affect the college outcomes of Black men.
"Postsecondary leaders and decision makers must work harder to address the barriers that cyclically undermine the enrollment and persistence of Black male students and other underserved student populations with low college completion rates,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “Our nation’s competitiveness in the global economy is linked to the attention and resources that policymakers devote to increasing college completion rates for all students and Black men must be a high priority.”
The report was written by Shaun R. Harper, Ph.D., associate professor in the Graduate School of Education and director of the Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education at the University of Pennsylvania. The report’s co-author is Frank Harris III, Ed.D., associate professor in the College of Education and co-director of the Minority Male Community College Collaborative (also known as M2C3) at San Diego State University.
“Any agenda aimed at improving college access and success for Black undergraduate men—one of the most underrepresented populations in U.S. higher education—would be incomplete without the participation of policymakers at all levels,” says Harper.
The Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education unites University of Pennsylvania scholars who do research on race and important topics pertaining to equity in education. Principally, the Center aims to publish cutting-edge implications for education policy and practice, with an explicit focus on improving equity in P-12 schools, colleges and universities, and social contexts that influence educational outcomes.
A Role for Policymakers in Improving the Status of Black Male Students in U.S. Higher Education is the second in IHEP's publication series focusing on “men of color” in higher education. The first report, Ensuring the Academic Success of Latino Males in Higher Education, introduced a “Blueprint for Action” to provide model program examples and action steps to best support Latino males to and through college and into the workforce.
For more information or to download a free copy of A Role for Policymakers in Improving the Status of Black Male Students in U.S. Higher Education, visit IHEP’s website at www.ihep.org. For additional details about the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Race and Equity in Education be sure to visit www.gse.upenn.edu/equity.