Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education


Researchers note that African American male students are disadvantaged by several social, psychosocial, and institutional factors. These factors affect their enrollment, retention, and graduation rates. This study, guided by Critical Race Theory in education, explores the lived experiences of African American male students at Grand Valley State University through in-depth interviews and the utilization of qualitative data analysis. Findings reveal that social, psychosocial, and institutional factors had the ability to positively or negatively affect the academic success of the participants. The issues most frequently mentioned by participants were public school education, minority status stressors (MSS), stereotype threat, environmental incongruency, differential treatment, low expectations, and a desire to prove misconceptions wrong. These findings reveal the salience of MSS at Grand Valley and Black men’s desire to be successful and accepted at Grand Valley. They also indicate some ways in which Grand Valley can support its African American male students.