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Building a Sense of Belonging for Black and Latino Men: The 3 Relationships that Matter Most for College Success

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A long-overdue look at Black and Latino male success. The national conversation about race has brought attention to a perennial challenge in higher education: Black and Latino men graduate from college at the lowest rates. As of spring 2020, Black and Latino men were less likely to graduate than their White and Asian male counterparts, and less likely than Black and Latina women.

Six-year bachelor’s degree graduation rates, spring 2020

  • Black Men: 38.8%
  • Hispanic/Latino Men: 52.2%
  • Black Women: 49.9%
  • Hispanic/Latina Women: 61.1%
  • White Men: 64.5%
  • Asian Men: 73.8%

Source: EAB analysis of NCES IPEDS data

Why do Black and Latino male graduation rates lag behind? To understand the answer, EAB researchers spoke to 30+ experts on college campuses throughout the nation. What we learned is that, as a distinct minority on campuses that are predominantly white and female, Black and Latino men struggle to find a sense of belonging and a supportive community on campus. They almost never share a room with more than one or two others who look like them, whether students, faculty, or staff. They feel isolated and alone, unsure who to turn to when they face common student struggles like homesickness or rethinking their choice of major.

This isn’t a new problem. It’s why many institutions are focusing now on rethinking their enrollment strategy and on diversifying the faculty and staff through inclusive hiring practices. But these are long-term strategies. In the short term, college leaders need to invest in the relationships Black and Latino male students already have. EAB identified three critical relationships: relationships with peers, relationships with mentors and role models, and relationships with parents and families (who might not be on campus, but still play an important role in supporting the student journey).


Join EAB for an interactive roundtable session to:

  • Understand why these three relationships are so important for Black and Latino male success
  • Learn 15+ best practices to strengthen these relationships on campus
  • Work with peers and EAB facilitators to create a plan to build a sense of belonging for your students and their families

Session is limited to VPSA and CDOs. Registration is limited to two attendees per institution.

  • Tuesday, December 12, 2023 | 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. ET

Experts associated with this event

EAB Experts

Angela Street

Angela Street

Director, Research Advisory Services

Read Bio