College Access and Completion among Boys and Young Men of Color: Literature Review of Promising Practices

by Jamila Henderson; Jorge Ruiz de Velasco; Kara Dukakis; Nina Duong

Aug 1, 2014

This literature review examines challenges and promising practices for increasing college access and completion among boys and young men of color. It moves beyond issues of academic preparation to other factors that appear to mediate college access and success for boys and young men of color.
  • The primary obstacles for boys and young men of color as they navigate preparing for college and persisting to completion include: college undermatch, imperfect financial aid information and support, racial and stereotype threat linked to high school and post-secondary dropout, experience of boys and young men of color as low-income, first-generation to attend students, and lack of equity-focused institutional practices in K-21 and post-secondary education.
  • There must be a combination of individual and institutional approaches to improve college access and completion among boys and young men of color.
  • On the individual-level, promising strategies include supportive adults and peers, high expectations, and family engagement, development of college knowledge about the application and financial process, support toward a strong college match, development of a college-going identity, participation in learning communities, and enabling a sense of belonging.
  • On the institutional-level, there much be support for social and emotional skills and mindsets and school climate. Efforts in the K- 12 system must support the Common Core State Standards and those at both the K-12 and post-secondary levels should include a data-driven process with an unwavering vision toward completion and a strong system of accountability.