Getting into college is one accomplishment. However, what happens once students arrive on campus? How are they treated? How do they feel? Students of color often experience college differently than their white peers because of the negative attitudes, behavior, and practices some peers and faculty have toward students of color because of their race and/or ethnicity. The long-term effects of college students’ experiences on campus severely affect the academic experiences and social well-being of students of color, namely—their college access and success.
A new report from The Education Trust calls for more opportunities to support students of color on college campuses. From September 2022 to May 2023, the study’s researchers interviewed 32 Black, Latino, and Asian American college students enrolled at predominantly White institutions (PWIs) in 15 states to learn about their experiences on campus. Their answers reveal several common themes, including:
- Underrepresentation of students of color and faculty on campus.
- Limited support from their college for students of color.
- Lack of student knowledge about college policies and procedures to report incidents of racial/ethnic discrimination.
- Lack of mental health supports that provide care specifically to students of color.
The study include several recommendations on what higher education institutions can do to help. Among the suggestions:
- Colleges and universities must address negative perceptions peers and faculty have toward students of color through ongoing measurement of student perceptions via campus racial climate assessments, implementation of educational programs to combat negative racial/ethnic bias, and implementation of clear and anonymous reporting systems for students of color to report incidents of racial discrimination.
- Colleges should design and implement systematic and comprehensive educational programs to help all members of the campus community (students, faculty, and staff) identify and confront the stereotypes and myths that people have about those who are different from them.