This article presents a different discourse to promote access to and equity in higher education by re-examining the value of for-profit education and its attractiveness to African-American students underserved by traditional institutions. The authors suggest that for-profit institutions face similar challenges to traditional schools in the matriculation of African-American students but to a larger degree. Guided by the spirit of researchers Asa G. Hilliard and Barbara Sizemore, the article offers a progressive view of improving African-American students’ access to higher education. Additionally, the article suggests ways to engage in meaningful conversations on how to improve higher education by replacing traditional standards of academia at non-traditional institutions. The lack of value for proprietary education’s role in educating African-American students distracts from the real issue of how to best support students across existing sectors. Last, the authors offer a contemporary perspective on students’ needs and achievements as a framework for developing alternatives to the dated minority student success paradigm. The article concludes with implications for future scholars and practitioners in the higher educational system.

Keywords: proprietary education, traditional education, non-traditional students, African-American students, higher education, U.S. higher education system


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