The Perceived Family and Parental Influence on African American Men Who Enroll in Community Colleges

III David V. Tolliver, K. Kacirek, Michael T Miller


Higher education institutions have generally been successful in increasing the number of diverse populations who attend college, especially recruiting and enrolling record numbers of Hispanic and Asian students. African American enrollments continue to lag behind these other diverse groups, with African American men being among the lowest of the multicultural groups to be enrolled in higher education today. Community colleges have been perhaps the most successful in recruiting and enrolling African American men, and the current study sought to describe how the families of these men interact and encourage or discourage enrollment. Using a series of semi-structured interviews, families were found to play a perceived important role in the decision to enroll in a community college. These families mentored the African American men in the study, created expectations for them to have successful life beyond high school, and pushed them to have positive ideas about their future and to plan for that future. These findings were consistent with modeling about college going decision-making, and also reinforced the emerging theory of community expectancy.


Higher education diversity; College pathways; Family influence; Community college access

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