Programs that Support Men of Color in College

UCLA is conducting a study of black and brown high school boys in Los Angeles who are succeeding in school–taking Advanced Placement classes and maintaining high grade-point averages.

The purpose of the study? To find out how those boys define success and what they think contributed to theirs.

Not surprisingly, things like high expectations from parents, limited TV viewing, and encouraging teachers figured prominently in their success.


Men of Color in College


Despite the UCLA study, others show that men of color overall are not faring well in college. According to a brief recently released by MDRC, there are three broad reasons for this:

  • Low levels of college preparation
  • A lack of financial and other resources that support persistence
  • A lack of social, emotional, or academic support

To address the struggles of men of color in college and to help them reach their goal of attaining a credential, programs like the State University of New York’s Black Male Initiative, have proliferated on college campuses across the country.

MDRC, a social policy research organization, is embarking on research to find out what college programs are most effective, and what elements of the programs offer the most promise.


What Works for Men of Color?


According to MDRC, the following components are most often represented in these programs:

  • Academic advising
  • Academic and study skills training
  • Leadership training
  • Mentoring
  • Special events

The MDRC researchers will evaluate one of the oldest programs that address these issues, the University System of Georgia’s African-American Male Initiative, or AAMI. Started in 2002, the program is described as “expansive.”

AAMI provides academic skills enrichment, student support services, mentoring, and leadership development.

David Fullard, Ph.D., a mentor and visiting assistant professor at SUNY’s Empire State College, would be surprised if the programs weren’t found to be effective. The Black Male Initiative at ESC, he says, is making an impact (you can read about that impact here).

But any research that would help these programs increase their effectiveness would certainly be appreciated.

For more about AAMI, visit its website.