Determined to change the statistics, the Community College of Philadelphia created the Center for Male Engagement, a program that provides coaches, tutoring and a place to go for help. After some research, Ronald Jackson, dean of students, said, “We identified they needed a place to go, to call their own, where they could address issues, whether social, family or academic.”

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Last year, the American Council on Education issued a report that said while the percentage of black male high school graduates going to college had risen, only 35 percent of those students graduate in six years. This was compared to 59 percent for white males, 46 percent for Hispanic men and 45 percent for black females.

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Now, research at the Community College of Philadelphia shows something else:  Of the 144 students who participated in the CME during its first year, 90 percent were still attending classes in 2010 — more than double the normal 41 percent fall-to-fall semester rate for new black male students at the College. Blacks comprise 53.2 percent of the College’s overall student population.