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- To reverse the decades-long trend of declining black college students, higher education leaders must structure programs and policies with black students in mind. Community for Black Learner Excellencea new coalition focused on research and policy.
- The group that on Wednesday she issued a message aimed at increasing Black student enrollment and retention, focused on four core principles: bringing transparency to higher education costs, offering academic and social support, creating a sense of shared ownership of Black student success, and implementing instructional practices based on feedback from Black students .
- “To be clear, the burden is not on black students,” the report said. “State and federal institutions and policymakers at all levels have a responsibility to ensure that places of higher education are accessible and welcoming to all, regardless of a student’s race or background.”
College education has lost 600,000 black students over the past decade, about half of them from community colleges, according to the report. Two-year institutions are especially important for black students because they offer more affordable paths to reliable credentials, the group said.
According to Keith Curry, chairman of the group’s professional advisory board and president of Compton College in California, a leader in the community college space, the coalition is working to get more colleges involved in black student success and hold institutions accountable for that success.
“Our system structures have failed these students. Now is the time for us to redesign the system structures so that they are successful,” he said in an interview with reporters on Wednesday.
Among black Americans, 80% think college is unaffordable, according to the report. And the disparity between a college’s sticker price and what students actually pay has only added to the confusion surrounding price. The report recommends that colleges offer transparent pricing structures and charge only what students can afford without spiraling into unmanageable levels of debt.
Transparency should also be extended to the value of the degree in the labor market, the report says.
“Human capital is the name of the game. Today, we have people without opportunities and opportunities without people,” former U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Wednesday. Spellings now runs Texas 2036, a think tank focused on the state, and serves as an advisor to the Community for Black Learner Excellence.
Colleges that work with employers will be better able to position students for success while helping hiring managers address labor shortages, the report says. And strong graduate employment records will also help restore black students’ confidence in higher education, which the coalition says is sorely needed.