Georgia Regents Push to Increase Black Male Enrollment
Peer pressure and lack of parental support are among the reasons fewer Black men than Black women choose to attend college, Georgia’s Board of Regents was told last month in a report examining the phenomenon and suggesting ways to correct it.
Another factor, the report said, is that as early as middle school, some Black males are steered toward choosing vocational courses rather than those that will prepare them for college.
The board accepted the report and 15 recommendations, which call for new efforts to bring Black males into Georgia’s 34 public colleges and universities. In 2000, Black women outnumbered Black men in the university system 2-to-1 — 28,000 to 14,000.
The recommendations range from public service announcements aimed at students to assessments of how Black men perceive the attitude toward cultural diversity at each of the state’s campuses.
Regent Elridge McMillan of Atlanta, who is Black, called it “terribly significant” that the board is delving into the issue. “My prayer is we don’t let it become, as many reports are, a dust collector,” he said.
Chancellor Thomas Meredith, who recommended a further $300,000 for the initiative, said the study “will help us address an exploding situation coming our way.” Many of the same findings can be applied to the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population, he said.
Arlethia Perry-Johnson, who was project director for the study, said lack of parental support and low expectations for educational advancement proved to be one of the biggest factors in why more Black males do not choose college.
But some also are influenced by peer pressure and some by economic pressures to help support their families, she said.
In addition, she said some Black males are steered toward vocational rather than college preparation courses while others, deemed behavioral problems in grade school, are assigned to programs which leave them ill-prepared for higher education.
To help correct the problem, the university system is preparing several public service announcements, which will be screened later this month and again in the fall, as one part of the campaign to increase minority enrollment.
Another recommendation calls for the creation of a new system-level office under the chancellor to oversee programs targeted at the problem.
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