The 2010 U.S. Census estimates that only 29 percent of black males between the ages of 18 and 24 enroll in college each year. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports the organization, 100 Black Men of Jackson is trying to help change those statistics.
Education experts say one of the leading causes of black males not attending college is lack of financial support. 100 Black Men of Jackson announced yesterday that it is giving $20 thousand dollars collectively to the states 8 colleges and universities and three other schools to increase enrollment. Don Lewis, President of the organization said the program is in its 23rd year with a proven track record.
"We received letters back from the college Presidents where they have awarded these scholarships to a student who said to us if it had not been for the 100 Black Men of Jackson I would have dropped out of college because I did not get enough in Pell Grants or student loans. And you know how colleges are these days they want that money. So we wanna make a difference to the students."
In addition to financial challenges, Marcus Chaney, Vice President of Student Life at Jackson State University says there are a number of other factors contributing to the low enrollment of black males on college campuses. Some he says include negative influences from their environment.
"You know to be honest with you you'd rather see them be in school than being on the streets, robbing, killing, those type of things. So you would rather an organization like 100 Black Men to try to ensure that those young men are not becoming part of the prison system or what's going on the streets."
Over the years Zachery Williams says he has seen measurable success for the group’s efforts.
"Once these young men graduate from college, they go throughout the state to find a excellent paying job that allow them to give back. Each one teach one. Once you get into a position that you are able to give back we would like you to do so. And we lead by example."
This year Jackson State University began a comprehensive study to determine why black males are less than half as likely to finish college than their white counterparts. Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.