Colleges seek solutions for underrepresented students

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- About 200 college administrators from throughout the region are examining how to help underrepresented groups get into college and graduate.

Schools want to create pathways for success.

The Metropolitan Community Colleges say about three out 10 students drop out or fail from one semester to the next.

And that may be because many students from minority or low-income families don't know what's expected of them at college because no one in their family has ever had the experience.

Schools are responding by establishing partnerships with school districts, exposing teens to dual credit college courses before they get out of high school.

They also working with industries to expand on the job training programs so students can see the payoff for furthering their education.

"Everyone wants to feel a sense of mattering," said Tyrone Bledsoe, CEO of Student African American Brotherhood. "We heard a lot of talk around Black Lives Matter. Back in the day we just talked about everybody mattering, not marginalizing anyone. In my world it was students matter. We didn’t talk about a specific ethnicity. Every student matters. That's what really connected to enrollment management. All students are part of the same family."

At America's most selective colleges, more students are likely to come from families whose income is the top 1 percent than those from the bottom 60 percent.

Some schools have tried to counter this by making test scores optional. Oddly enough, while that's resulted in schools getting more applications, it's also meant they've had to reject more people they're trying to include.

College campuses claim they're working harder to create a culture of caring, where blacks, Hispanics and low income students are supported in their goals.

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