Posts published on March 2, 2014
AUSTIN, TX— Black males and Latinos report having higher aspirations to earn a community
college certificate or degree than their White peers, but only 5% of Black males and Latinos
attending community colleges earn certificates or degrees within three years, as opposed to
32% of White males. This fact, among many others, prompted the Center for Community
College Student Engagement to develop a special report released today: Aspirations to
Achievement: Men of Color and Community Colleges.
As community colleges across the country respond to mounting calls for dramatic improvements
in college completion, a necessary component of that work is to recognize and then close the
persistent and troubling attainment gaps across a diverse population of students. Page 2 of 4
The new report includes analysis of student engagement survey results for over 145,000 male
community college students and is accompanied by a video drawn from over 30 focus groups
with Black male and Latino students. It builds on a growing body of research about the
experiences of men of color in higher education and offers information community colleges can
consider as they work to create conditions that will lead to better outcomes for these students.
Despite their diverse life and educational experiences, male students of color in focus groups
agree on the importance of four factors as central to their success: building strong personal
connections on campus; being held to high expectations; encountering instructors who are
committed to their achievement; and being intensively engaged in the academic experience,
both in and out of the classroom. Although students agree on these factors, their responses
regarding the significance of race and diversity on campus are mixed across and within groups.
“Community colleges open their doors to all learners,” affirms Center Director Kay McClenney.
“However, open access is only the first step in attaining the equity ingrained in the mission of
community colleges. The more significant work is ensuring that all students have the support
needed to succeed.