MDRC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to education and policy research, has released a research brief examining the higher education landscape for men of color.  The brief entitled Boosting College Success Among Men of Color highlights the factors that influence college persistence, retention, and degree attainment for Native American, African-American, and Latino male students and reviews current programs and practices to better serve this population.

According to the authors, despite having college and career aspirations equal to those of their white counterparts, many boys of color face significant barriers to attaining their academic and professional goals.  A number of explanations for this were outlined in the report, including being more likely to attend underresourced schools, being overrepresented in school discipline and juvenile justice systems, and having a lack of access to college preparatory classes.

In recent years, programs to help men of color succeed in college have grown in number.  The report assessed 82 existing programs across the nation that are working to increase outcomes for these students, three of which are based in Florida, including Broward College’s Brother to Brother (B2B) Advocate Program, Florida State College at Jacksonville’s Minority Male Success Initiative¸ and Indian River State College’s African-American Leadership Institute.

The analysis revealed the five most commonly identified strategies used to help men of color thrive in college:

  1. Help from professional advisors and counselors to navigate academic and social hurdles
  2. Academic and study skills training, including tutoring and study halls
  3. Opportunities for building leadership skills
  4. Peer-to-peer and/or adult-to-peer mentoring
  5. Special events or workshops that include topics related to identity and student success

The most common strategy employed by the featured programs was mentoring, with 90% offering such services.  However, many are utilizing multiple strategies, with over half of the included programs implementing all five.  The report concludes that rigorous evaluations of promising practices are needed to address on-going questions around the effectiveness of the different programs that currently exist.

To learn more about MDRC and the organization’s current projects, including an evaluation of the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative, click here.


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