College Access and Attainment: Strategies and Programs for Men of Color

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The impact of a college education reaches far beyond any one student. A college degree has the power to change a family’s economic outlook, lift future generations to new heights, and inspire whole communities.  Education transforms lives and livelihoods.  

While data affirms the value of a college degree, far too many men of color forgo this powerful opportunity. 2018 postsecondary data notes enrollment of males – both minority and non-minority – is less than that of females. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, in 2018 a greater percentage of White women enrolled in college compared to White men (45% vs. 39%). The gender gap was greater among minorities, as 41% of Black women enrolled in college versus 33% of Black men, and 40% of Hispanic women enrolled versus 32% of Hispanic men.  The global pandemic exacerbated these gaps. 

The Helios-produced brief, College Access and Attainment: Strategies and Programs for Men of Color, examines three approaches to addressing the decline in enrollment among men of color. The first approach explores how to foster “capital,” the social, cultural, and emotional connections needed to build college-going cultures, communities, and identities. The second approach centers on providing academic and personal services and support, while the third approach offers students general college and career preparation. The brief also outlines recommendations and considerations for improving enrollment and completion among men of color. 

“Increasing postsecondary enrollment and completion, particularly among men of color, are goals of Helios Education Foundation and our partners as we work to close achievement gaps and shape a thriving, equitable future for all,” said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation.

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