Men of Color: A Role for Policymakers in Improving the Status of Black Male Students in U.S. Higher Education

by Frank Harris; Shaun R. Harper

Nov 1, 2012

This report calls for greater involvement by federal and state policymakers and others to improve black male college readiness and completion. It presents policy-relevant trends concerning black male college students, highlights promising practices on campuses across the country, and proposes suggestions for policymakers and other stakeholders.
  • Initiatives currently offered by colleges and universities are insufficient to improve postsecondary degree attainment for black males; a complementary policy response is needed.
  • Data show that black males are underrepresented in postsecondary education, have low college completion rates, are overrepresented in revenue-generating college sports, and face inequities in student-athlete graduation rates.
  • The cumulative gender gap in degree attainment is widest among black students, with women outnumbering their male counterparts by more than two to one.
  • Policy recommendations include: funding measures and programs targeting student populations that are least likely to enroll in college; data, assessment, and information sharing on college completion initiatives to find out which are successful and scalable; rethinking how college athletics affect black men; promoting policies and practices that advance equity; and reclaiming near-completers.