Session Descriptions


Opening Session

The opening session will explain the critical importance of a postsecondary education to Black men ages 18–24 in this increasingly competitive global economy and the special challenges of recruiting, retaining and graduating the nation’s young Black men. Walt MacDonald and Marian Wright Edelman will give opening remarks to set the stage for the day’s discussions.

College Student Stories

Young Black men currently pursuing college degrees walk different paths to reach their goal. The young men on our opening panel will discuss the challenges they have overcome to be accepted into college, what obstacles they have overcome while attending college, what they intend to accomplish in the future and their perspectives on how to ensure greater success for Black men following in their footsteps. 

Policies Increasing Access and Advancing Success

This panel will examine policies that create hurdles for Black men and policies that create opportunities for Black men to get into college and succeed on campus. From explicit policies that encourage access, including affirmative action and campus recruitment, to the complexity of academic preparedness, including undermatching and remedial courses, panelists will give a big-picture view of the forces at work in the lives of Black men during the college years.

The Affordability Challenge

The cost of higher education has risen 50 percent since 2000. Financial barriers too often prevent Black men from enrolling in college or remaining in school to graduate on time. This panel session will focus on how to remove financial barriers and increase access to funding so that more Black men can realize the benefits of a college education. Our panelists will share innovative strategies currently in use that promote the funding of access and completion for Black men.

Strategies that Work: Advancing Completion and Success

The last panel of the day will look at existing practices, highlighting campus-based strategies that work to support Black men across the graduation stage. With an overview of current research, evidence of success from two- and four-year schools and particular attention to the most vulnerable students, this last discussion will offer concrete steps to take that will ensure student success.

Advancing Success

This session will provide a summary of the day, highlighting the key take-home points. It will also serve as a call for action.