Identifying Strategies to Improve African American College Student Retention and Graduation Rates

1690 Words 7 Pages
Minorities are a growing segment of the population. However, this group continues to be underrepresented in the area of post secondary education. Obtaining an advanced degree remains a likely predictor of future career success. The problem facing the minority student is that barriers persist which continue to hinder enrollment, retention, and graduation rates in institutions of higher education. These barriers must be identified and examined and solutions offered if college completion rates are to be increased for this population. While overall college enrollment and graduation rates have risen for all minority groups, there continues to be concerns for this segment of the population, particularly for African American students. Even …show more content…
The U.S. Department of Education’s Digest of Education Statistics (2010) compiles data on educational trends and statistics in the United States. According to the digest, in 2009 African Americans earned about 10 percent of all bachelor degrees awarded. Furthermore, about 20 percent of African Americans currently hold a college degree. When compared to the same rates for the white non-hispanic population, African Americans are largely lagging behind. The challenges that African Americans are facing must be met by post secondary institutions if this group is going to continue on the path of economic and career prosperity. This need is discussed in the report Minorities in Higher Education: Although greater access to higher education for students of color is an absolute imperative, it is only part of the equation. Ensuring their academic success and readiness to thrive in an interconnected world remains the ultimate goal. In a global economy, providing greater access to post secondary education to individuals from all racial and ethnic backgrounds remains one of the most important challenges facing our nation. Demographic changes have increased the proportions of people of color in the United States, and our academic population (Ryu, 2009, p. i). The relationship between ethnicity and retention in post secondary education has been widely discussed in the literature. The