Community colleges enroll nearly half of the students in public undergraduate programs and a disproportionate number of first-generation, low-income, underprepared, and minority students. The new national completion agenda initiated by President Barack Obama had brought both visibility and pressure to community colleges, which had completion rates of less than 25% for first-time and full-time African-American students and even lower rates for part-time students. When comparing four-year collegiate institutions with community colleges, more African-American males had enrolled into community colleges because of open admission policies, a variety of program offerings, and convenient locations. In contrast, community colleges had more likely lost these particular students because of employment, leniency within admission policies, and personal challenges. A qualitative case study provided some lacking reasons why these students drop out, and these circumstances may subsequently lead to indications of how to decrease the community college dropout rate. The specific problem of interest is the perceptions and experiences that African-American male students had for dropping out of community college before attaining a certificate or associate’s degree or transferring to a four-year institution. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore the perceptions and lived experiences of African-American male community college students regarding college dropout. The participants of this study were 10 African-American male former community college students who withdrew from an urban multi-campus in North Texas without transferring to a four-year college or university, or without attaining a certificate or associate’s degree from the community college. Participants were students formerly enrolled at the institution for at least one entire two-semester year. Recommendations concerning these students should be advised on the pros and cons of being employed while attending school during their initial counseling appointment with college personnel. Students should be informed on the difficulties, stress, and anxiety they may receive balancing their job with employment. Advisors should assist these students with skills such as time management and organization to reduce stress and anxiety. If permissible, advisors should also collaborate with students to plan class schedules that may be more flexible concerning their employment. Counseling services also need to be available to assist with stress, anxiety, and other difficulties and uncertainties. Faculty should also be involved to the extent of modifying assignments, tests, etc., in order to assist student success.
On the other hand, students may need to look at classes that are available online as well as seek job opportunities that have flexible work days and times. Community colleges should create an environment that is deeply rooted in the college and outside community. College administrators, community leaders, and other stakeholders may need to create student-friendly employers, which could be advertised in the college newspaper, or school’s website. These types of employers could provide student friendly policies such as daycare and tuition reimbursement plans, merchandise discounts, and flexible work schedules. The second recommendation is to make sure African-American male students are engaged with the community college to encompass efficient academic advisement, career counseling, college transfer, and support services. The third recommendation is that this particular group of students may need to be provided mentors. Community leaders and other stakeholders who are men of color should be part of the educational experience for African-American males in college to show them what can happen with hard work and attaining a college degree. This particular group of students needs to be viewed holistically, and mentors may provide a personable, positive connection to keep these students in college.
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, African American Studies, Black studies, School counseling, Higher education|
|Keywords:||African-American, Black males, College dropout, College persistence, Community college dropout, Community colleges, Men|
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