Lehigh Valley universities and colleges aim to help male Black and Latino students succeed in higher ed
BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Nearly 40 Black and Latino male high school students from across the Lehigh Valley will be participating in a college readiness program this week hosted by Moravian University. The goal is to inspire students to enroll in higher education institutions by learning about college life, especially at predominately white schools.
Program Director Baru Roberson-Hornsby is a senior career development strategist at Moravian University. He said this is the second year they’ve held the event and the popularity has really taken off.
- Moravian University is holding 2nd annual college readiness program for male Black and Latino high school students
- The program is free for students and families
- It's gained in popularity since last year
“I would say, starting by the fact that this is 100% free for students and their families. That's something that's unique about it,” Roberson-Hornsby said. “We're not asking them to come up with any money for us, this is all 100% free. We're funding it through a great partnership with Air Products. They're actually providing those grant fundings to run this initiative.”
The students will participate in an immersive experience, sharing a dorm room on campus, and receiving mentorship and tips for succeeding in college and beyond. Students are also given a suit and taken to an IronPigs game and to Dave and Busters.
Roberson-Hornsby said originally they wanted most of the students to be from Allentown and Bethlehem and Easton Area school districts. But they’re allowing students from more Lehigh Valley schools due to the amount of interest. The program is offering a second, scaled-down experience in July.
“So we have students coming from all walks of life, different backgrounds, different experiences, which is really great. And I think it really enriches the program as well.”Moravian University Program Director Baru Roberson-Hornsby
Some students come in knowing they want to go to college, Roberson-Hornsby said, while some need more information and guidance.
“Other students that we have, our first-gen, they come from a lower socio-economic status, they might not really know all the ins and outs of navigating that world,” he said. “So we have students coming from all walks of life, different backgrounds, different experiences, which is really great. And I think it really enriches the program as well.”
"We have students coming from all walks of life, different backgrounds, different experiences, which is really great. And I think it really enriches the program as well."Program director Baru Roberson-Hornsby
Meanwhile, Lehigh Carbon Community College is one of only 15 community colleges nationwide to receive a grant from the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center for a similar program. LCCC recently won $75,000 to help advance its efforts to reduce barriers for Hispanic male students. The project is called “Takeoff Initiative – College Men of Color,” and is funded by the ECMC (Educational Credit Management Corporation) Foundation through USC. The Foundation works to improve higher education for career success among underserved populations through evidence-based innovation.
A news release from LCCC said Hispanic enrollment at the school has increased by 18% in the past five years. In 2019, the college was recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the U.S. Department of Education. The release said currently 28% of LCCC students are Hispanic/Latino.