Developing a Stronger College Pipeline

African American students are less likely to meet key benchmarks for college readiness than any other group of underserved students. Even when they successfully complete the high school coursework intended to prepare them for college, according to the Condition of College and Career Readiness, a comprehensive report released by UNCF and ACT.

As data in this report makes clear, many African American students do well in school, and important progress has been made in increasing African American educational attainment over the past several decades. But significant gaps remain between current levels of achievement and the more equitable levels of college and career readiness needed.

Here are two reasons why:

  • Only five percent of all 2014 ACT-tested African American high school graduates met all four of the ACT College Readiness benchmarks for credit-bearing first-year college courses in English composition, college algebra, biology and the social sciences.
  • At the same time, 17 percent of African American high school students met only one benchmark and 62 percent met none.



As the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, UNCF plays an important role in helping African American and other minority students successfully get to and through college.

We do that in many ways, such as by awarding more than $100 million a year in scholarships to more than 10,000 students at more than 1,100 schools across the country. But our efforts to help students succeed actually start much earlier, before students are even enrolled in school.

Here are some of the education reform efforts we support:

  • Invest in early childhood education programs so more children are ready to learn.
  • Support programs targeted at developing behaviors that aid students’ academic success.
  • Advance college and career readiness through a renewed focus on teaching and learning.
  • Provide all students with access to a rigorous high school core curriculum.
  • Set clear performance standards to evaluate college and career readiness.
  • Implement a high-quality student assessment system.
  • Continue to implement monitoring and early-warning systems that help educators identify and intervene with at-risk students.
  • Continue to develop thoughtful and fair teacher evaluation and support systems that include multiple measures of performance, including student growth data.
  • Increase support of STEM-related courses to meet the coming demand for a larger STEM workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Implement policies for data-driven decision-making.