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#OurChallengeOurHope: Improving Low College Persistence Among

Improving Low College Persistence
Among Students of Color
Students of color represented over 40 percent of undergraduate college students enrolled in 2017 yet African American students’ rate of college persistence is more than 11 percentage points lower than their white counterparts and 18 percentage points lower than Asian students, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Current remedies for recruitment and retention issues include university offices of diversity and inclusion, as well as federal TRIO programs. However, more and more programs specifically designed to increase completion rates among students of color are being scaled back and defunded.
Students’ lack of academic preparedness for postsecondary education also impacts the resources that colleges and universities need to serve their students. For example, the U.S. Department of Education reports that 40 percent of students overall require remediation. Nearly half of all African American and Latino college students report participating in remediation during their college career compared to just one-third of white college students.
This month, the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) will continue its #OurChallengeOurHope campaign on the legacy and impact of the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case by focusing on the barriers to college persistence among students of color. Later this month, we will host an intimate conversation featuring multiple perspectives on existing recruitment and retention challenges affecting two- and four-year colleges/universities, as well as examples of strategies and programs that have proven successful in meeting these challenges.
In the meantime, we encourage you to think about what the statistics we’ve shared mean for understanding challenges with persistence and adequate student support services available for college students of color.
What are the implications of these challenges on preparation strategies for 12th grade graduates and the policies that govern their schools’ curriculum and instruction?
What is the role of K-12 and college-level educators in ensuring that students of color receive the resources they need to be successful?
Use #OurChallengeOurHope to add your voice to the conversation and advocate for proper programming, and support services that directly benefit students of color pursuing their college degree. We also encourage you to reach out to your local school districts, colleges, and universities about the need for adequate academic preparation programs, cultural support services, and engagement activities specifically for students of color.
Here are some more resources to get your started:
First-Generation Students: College Access, Persistence, and Postbachelor’s Outcomes
Three years after first enrolling, 33 percent of first-generation students who began postsecondary education in 2003–04 had left postsecondary education without earning a postsecondary credential, compared to only 14 percent of students whose parents earned a bachelor’s degree. Dig into this brief from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) for additional data on first-generation students’ high school success and postsecondary enrollment, persistence and degree completion once they enrolled in college, and graduate school enrollment and employment outcomes after they attained a bachelor’s degree.
Download the Brief
Promoting the Success of Students of Color by Promoting the Success of Faculty of Color
Despite focused efforts by many colleges and universities, the racial and ethnic composition of college faculty has not increased significantly in more than twenty years. This article from the Association of American Colleges & Universities explores how five colleges worked collectively to increase support for faculty of color.
Read More
Data Dive: Profile of Undergraduate Students
Looking for information on undergraduate students enrolled in postsecondary institutions? This data from National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) includes topics such as attendance, average grades, participation in distance and remedial education, degree program, financial aid, and more.
Get the Data
Join the Campaign!
We continue to add partners to our #OurChallengeOurHope campaign to collectively focus on meeting the needs of our most underserved students and honoring the intent of the Brown vs. Boarddecision. If your organization would like to join, review our partner letter for more details.
Alliance for Excellent Education
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Washington, DC 20036
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