Minority Studies in Community Colleges

Enrolling and keeping African American students are reasons for anxiety for the administration of colleges and universities in Texas.   For some time, enrolment in universities rose perceptibly providing opportunities for higher education African American students.  For example, from 1960 to 1975, the number of black students in higher education rose from 150,000 students to approximately 1 million. Unfortunately, an enrollment of black students has remained stagnant.  A recent report by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities found that 63% of black students who had enrolled in four-year colleges had dropped out for good within six years.  Although administrators of universities have confronted the problems of recruitment and retention on a national level, the issues have not been resolved.  A growing chasm is reflected in the rates of participation of white and minority students in higher education. Are community colleges meeting the transfer needs of minority students? No one set of recommendations will apply to all universities that wish to increase the recruitment and retention levels of minority students.

Such factors as the size of programs, populations that they serve the regional economy, institutional goals and administrative and faculty commitments can alter the degree of success that might be obtained in recruiting and retaining minority students.  However, those institutions that seem to reach a level of success more often than not start at the local level and then reach outward.  Further, institutions that have experienced success in improving minority recruitment and retention have one common element: they have developed a comprehensive approach for planning and coordination University officials will be conducting a disservice if they merely gather up minority students from the inner city and drop them off as incoming freshmen at a far away, rural institution of higher education.

Many minority students from urban areas have received inadequate educations from academically and fiscally bankrupt school systems. A beginning point is for university faculty and administrators to collectively review policies and common practices that might create barriers to success for minority students.  Minority students have a minimal chance of graduating without the benefit of a substantial institutional commitment to Organizational effects that improve minority recruitment and retention include developing programs that help students with academic preparation problems, emphasizing precollege programs in relation to elementary and secondary schools, addressing multicultural environments, resolving organizational dilemmas of separatist versus support programs for minority students, creating proactive approaches to financial aid and examining opportunities for on-campus housing

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