Since March 2020, Dr. Linda Garcia has been investigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on community college students. Garcia is the executive director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement (CCSSE), and she noticed that, although the pandemic has negatively affected all students, Black students have been impacted the most.
Garcia and the National Alliance of Community and Technical Colleges pulled together a panel of education leaders who have been making institutional changes in an effort to keep Black students, in particular, Black men, enrolled in higher education. The panel urged institutions to listen to their students, increase connections and pathways between K-12 and post-secondary education, and provide mentors to engage with and nurture Black male students through their education, both on and off campus.
During the pandemic Black students overall had more difficulty accessing technology, Garcia said. Those that did have a laptop or smart phone often had to share that device with another family member. Many struggled to have enough food on the table for themselves or their family.
Dr. Donald “Guy” Generals, president of the Community College of Philadelphia (CCP), said the struggles that Blacks students face tend to be in three areas: financial, preparedness, and community support.