Foundation Commits $20 Million to Increasing Degrees for Men of Color

ECMC Foundation's Men of Color Initiative will create new programs and expand partnerships aimed at retaining minority men in school.
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  • More than 1 in 4 men are no longer enrolled in college six years after initially enrolling.
  • Men also complete college at significantly lower rates than women.
  • To address disparities in educational attainment for minority men, the Men of Color Initiative will create programs and partnerships.
  • Its first grant will support 12 community colleges that are increasing efforts to retain men of color.

Amid continued enrollment declines among men and students who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, ECMC Foundation has announced that, over the next five years, it will commit nearly $20 million in grants and investments to enhancing higher education for Black, Latino, Southeast Asian, and Native American men.

The Men of Color (MOC) Initiative will address barriers to college completion through donations, expanded partnerships, and the development of new programs to aid male students of color in attaining their degrees.

Over the last few years, experts have noted that colleges have a "guy problem." In addition to enrolling less than women, fewer men also complete college than women.

As of 2022, men accounted for approximately 44% of first-year students who enrolled in the spring, compared to 50% of women, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Four years after enrolling in 2014, only about 41% of male students had completed their degree, compared to 51% of female students. And on average, more than 1 in 4 men (28%) will no longer be enrolled in school six years after initially enrolling.

The numbers only get worse when looking exclusively at men of color. Black male enrollment, for example, fell 14.3% from spring 2020 to spring 2021. And three years after enrolling in 2017, nearly 55% of Black men were no longer enrolled in school, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.

When looking exclusively at men of color, an average of just 29% who enrolled in 2017 had completed any program three years later. By comparison, approximately 36% of white men and 35% of all women had done the same.

It is because of these numbers that ECMC Foundation wanted to make an impact.

"We want to build a postsecondary landscape that allows men of color to attend colleges and universities designed to promote their success and well-being," said Peter J. Taylor, president of ECMC Foundation, in a press release. "Our first-of-its-kind initiative aims to address longstanding disparities and dismantle outdated stereotypes which persist despite decades-long efforts to support men of color on and off campus."

The MOC Initiative launched with a $1.8 million grant to the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center. The funds will be used to support 12 community colleges that are upping their efforts to support men of color on campus.

While knowledge in higher education about the most impactful approaches and programs to changing outcomes for men of color is currently "limited," according to the initiative's program officer, Saùl Valdez, the MOC Initiative hopes to implement data-informed strategies for change that will help other organizations do the same.