Black Male Student Success in Higher Education: A Report From the National Black Male College Achievement Study

by Shaun R. Harper

Feb 6, 2012

The report presents insights from interviews with successful male African-American college students, highlighting factors that helped them succeed in a range of contexts: getting to college, choosing colleges, paying for college, transitioning to college, matters of engagement, and responding productively to racism.
  • The majority of black male achievers had non-negotiable expectations that they would pursue postsecondary education. Most had parents who consistently maintained high expectations and were involved in their schooling, even though nearly half came from homes where neither parent had attained a bachelor's degree.
  • Observation: The majority of Black male achievers had non-negotiable expectations that they would pursue postsecondary education; most had parents who consistently maintained high expectations and were involved in their schooling, although nearly half came from homes where neither parent had attained a bachelor's degree.
  • Participants believed they were successful in college because they got off to a good start (through summer bridge programs or the help of black male student leaders in transitioning to college life) and because of engaging experiences outside of the classroom (causing them to waste less time, interact frequently with academically-driven others, and develop relationships with faculty).
  • Observation: Participants were not exempt from racism, stereotypes, and racial insults, and many became skilled at educating their peers through thoughtful questioning of misconceptions.
  • Observation: Participants believed they were successful in college because they got off to a good start (through summer bridge programs or the assistance of Black male student leaders who helped the transition to college life) and because of engaging experiences outside of the classroom (causing them to waste less time, interact frequently with academically-driven others, and develop relationships with faculty).
  • Participants were not exempt from racism, stereotypes, and racial insults, and many became skilled at educating their peers through thoughtful questioning of misconceptions.