Giving Voice to Black and Latino Men
Abstract Black and Latino men have the lowest college enrollment rates among traditional college-aged students. Using a qualitative method, this study examined first-year students' perceptions of factors that influenced their plans to pursue a college education and actual enrollment. The factors this study explored were family support activities as defined by the Hossler college choice model and college aspirations factors. Currently, the experiences of first-year black and Latino men enrolled at four-year postsecondary institutions have been limited. These firsthand accounts will provide useful information to guidance counselors, school and university administrators, and policy makers interested in increasing the number of black and Latino men at four-year colleges and universities. The literature on college enrollment shows that black and Latino men have the lowest enrollment rates of all college-aged students. The college choice literature suggests that family support activities such as saving for college, visiting colleges, and attending a financial aid workshop all are influential in students' decision to enroll at a postsecondary institution. In addition, the literature on college aspirations shows that factors such as family encouragement, peers, and schools can either aid or hinder a student's plans to go to college. Yet, Hossler's college choice model and the college aspirations literature usually do not explain the college enrollment decisions of black and Latino men. In particular, a specific aim of this study is to investigate whether the college choice and college aspirations literatures' conclusions hold true for black and Latino men. In addition, this study explores whether participants' decisions to enroll are influenced by gender expectations. The results of this study were examined using a critical theory lens. The study's findings reveal that black and Latino men's college enrollment decisions are influenced in much the same ways as those of other high-school students. Parents provided the foundation along with early academic success that instilled ideas about the benefits of a college education and supported the attainment of that goal. Furthermore, participants rejected negative stereotypes associated with men of color and saw the pursuit of a postsecondary education as a challenge to these common beliefs. These findings show that men of color's college enrollment decisions are impacted by parents as well as multivariate factors that work to sustain their college enrollment goals. This information can provide school and college administrators as well as policymakers with strategies that could successfully address the problem of college transition and access for this population.