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Early Support for Black Students in GA Could Help Boost College Enrollment

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Thursday, March 30, 2023   

Two reports confirm a troubling trend in terms of Black students attending college.

According to the University System of Georgia, enrollment among Black students dropped by 3.7% between 2021 and 2022.

To reverse the decline, education experts are calling for early support measures to provide more guidance and opportunities.

Morgan Faison, clinical associate professor of education at the University of Georgia, said the steps could help foster a more inclusive environment, and ultimately close the gap between underrepresented students and their peers.

"Black students would benefit from increased access to culturally responsive learning experiences," Faison outlined. "And opportunities that provide more exposure to college, more exposure to careers, more exposure to mentoring, and way more scholarship opportunities."


During the same time period, enrollment increased at Georgia universities for Asian and Latino students by 7.5 % and 2.7%, respectively.

Another report, from the organization "Level Up," shows a steady decrease in enrollment and completion rates among Black students nationally, across all sectors of higher education, since 2011.

The declines threaten the hard-won socioeconomic advancements and stability of Black families over the years. In response, schools and other organizations have pledged to enhance access and support for young Black students.

Faison pointed out schools must also be purposeful in hiring and retaining diverse staff members, which she believes could play a crucial role in engaging with Black learners.

"Black students who come to the college level are looking for faculty who look like them, who share common experiences, can provide that kind of similar culturally relevant and responsive learning for them," Faison observed.

The Level Up report found affordability is another key. It cited research which showed 80% of Black Americans believe college is "unaffordable." And in one recent year, 33% of Black college graduates left school with more than $40,000 of debt, compared to 18% of white students and 13% of Hispanic graduates.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.


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