Date of Conferral





Human Services


Mary Bold


Individuals who earn a college degree increase their chances of stable employment and decrease their chances of committing crimes. Fewer African American males earn college degrees compared to European American, Asian American, and Hispanic American males. The purpose of this qualitative, multiple case study was to explore how barriers to education are developed, how they affect the education of African American males, and how those perceived barriers may be overcome. This study was framed by 2 theories: Steele and Aronson's stereotype threat and McClelland, Atkinson, Clark, and Lowell's achievement motivation. The six participants for this study were male college graduates who self-identified as African American. The participants were recruited through social media invitations and referrals. An invitation to participate was posted to social media sites LinkedIn and Facebook. Participants were asked to respond to the social media invitation and complete a Survey Monkey questionnaire. The participants were selected based on two indicators; the geographic location between Beaufort South Carolina and Jacksonville Florida and having a college graduation date within the past 2 years. The participants revealed barriers of focus, disability, family schedule, and disability. The African American males who participated in this study used support systems of family, classmates, and the university faculty and staff to overcome their barriers. The findings from this study may provide educators, students, and parents with information on the barriers to higher education for African American males and some of the strategies used to overcome them. The information gained from this study may allow educators to make changes to the curriculum. Parents may understand how to approach school issues with their children, and students will have strategies to help them overcome similar barriers.