Report: Black Students in NY, US Not Enrolling in College
Wednesday, May 3, 2023
The number of Black students enrolling in colleges and universities is declining, and New York is no exception.
The Lumina Foundation's Level Up report found more than 600,000 prospective students who are Black are not choosing college as part of their career path.
According to the Community College Research Center, Black student enrollment in community colleges started declining in 2011, and the trend is across all postsecondary schools.
The Center for American Progress found New York's Black student enrollment fell by 5,600 students in 2020.
Zakiya Smith Ellis, principal of the consulting firm Education Counsel, noted the costs of college enrollment go beyond tuition.
"Addressing the mental health, the child care, transportation, technology and food security needs that students have," Smith Ellis outlines. "Last but not least, all of these practices in teaching and learning need to really be centering students' lived experiences."
She added schools need to be more transparent about tuition and program affordability. Beyond cost, the report said some would-be students have competing responsibilities keeping them from enrolling.
A 2023 Gallup-Lumina Foundation poll found 36% of Black students working toward bachelor degrees juggle other priorities -- like being a caregiver or working full-time -- compared to 18% of other students.
In trying to find solutions, Smith Ellis suggested college advising needs to be what she calls "intrusive," and clear pathways are needed toward good, high-wage jobs. She added policymakers and other leaders have a hand in providing social support for Black students.
"We need states, the federal government, our nation's colleges and universities, and leaders in the community -- as well as philanthropy and business -- to be unapologetic leaders for Black learner excellence," Smith Ellis asserted.
Other solutions, outlined in the Level Up report included retraining educators to be more inclusive and culturally competent, to better understand the learning experiences of Black students.
Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.
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