The decrease in the percentage of African American men in higher education is a public health issue. This affects society at large and especially the African American community. The increased percentage of African American males not in higher education will result in a higher crime rate in black communities, shortened life span in black males, and overall hard lives. We face so many barriers while pursuing our education such as, environmental factors, societal perceptions of black men, racial identity issues, family upbringing and the media. The media generally contribute to the stigma of black men. Black males are largely underrepresented among college students and degree earners, but there are intricate reasons to these disparities. To understand this better, we need to go back to High school education. The school districts in urban neighborhoods have fewer academic offerings, less qualified teachers, out of date materials and lower quality curriculum, and because of this, many African American male students who are very much qualified to graduate high school and attend college are not prepared for the rigor of either. Additionally, if we are not engaging faculty and counselors in the societal problems black male students face while going to school, then they will not have the tools necessary to succeed. Along with the lack of preparation contributing to black men not attending college, there are also factors in our community that affect black men’s success. These factors are stressors that play into our everyday life as black men. Generally, young black men live in urban areas with gangs, drugs, violence and poverty. In these urban areas, often referred as “the ghettos” higher education is not look at as a priority for black men. Survival is. With this environment, it becomes increasingly difficult to succeed in higher education. When survival is the goal, education goes on the backburner. Even though many black men can come from a rough background success and overcoming our circumstances largely depends on the perception black men have about themselves. Black males’ perception about higher education is that black men who attend college are trying to “act white”. Younger black men view older black men who go to school or work, and have healthy lifestyles, as “white washed” and is not well received in the black community. If a young black man who is known and respected in the “streets” decides to pursue higher education goals then the result can be verbally ridicule, and even physical assault for their ambitions. Black men who are impressionable and easily influenced by the media, view success as becoming a rapper or a professional athlete. However, young black men may not be aware of the vast career options such as becoming a doctor, lawyer, or even an educator. Their career choices are not broadened due to their misguided perceptions of not seeing successful black men. Black men’s misguided perceptions of themselves largely stem from issues faced in the Black community. The challenges and struggles that young black men go through because of their race, impact their views about themselves and effect their self-esteem . Due to young black men having low self-esteem issues centered on their race, it then affects their academic success and willingness to do better. The low self-esteem issues experienced by young black men originate from societal stereotypes of young black men being “lazy” and “poor workers” . Other than false stereotypes from society, many young black men have the misguided beliefs that many African- American men are unemployed regardless of education attainment, so young black men are more likely to question the importance of a college education when they observe high levels of unemployment among African-American males.Other things that contribute to black men’s lack of success in higher education is academic and social integration. When black men are involved with other students on campus, they are able to interact with other students through study groups and school clubs, which helped provide peer support from other students. Study groups, on campus clubs, and classroom interactions can help black men attain academic success and social growth. But, for some reason, black men are generally not involved with these activities. Another factor that contributes to the decline in the academic success of black men is the presence or absence of a father in the household. Absent fathers have a large impact on young black men, especially with their success in higher education. Without the example of a father figure, it is more challenging for young black men to be guided to live more positive lifestyles. However, if there is a father actively present in the child’s life, and he is a positive example, then the son will see that and acquire a new perception on what it means to be a hard working black man. Lastly, the most important factor in the success of black men in higher education is the influence of the media. The media perpetuates role models for black men such as, athletes and rappers. As a result, black men rarely associate higher education as necessary to success. Black men are generally subjected to growing up with drug dealers and peers involved in drug related activities and gangs. That influence becomes their role models. The media has negatively represented black men on the news, internet, and many other mediums. Very rarely does the media depict successful and intelligent black men. Because, all of these messages suggest black men are academically inferior and incapable of succeeding in school. The solution to these problems is to reach young black men early, by providing quality books, school supplies and qualified teachers. Secondly, there needs to be better representation of positive role models in the black community on the media. With more positive influences, black men can strive for higher educational goals. Another solution is to build more community centers for young black men to enhance their social skills and have fun. We can also change the negative stereotypes of black men in the media. The day before I graduated high school,I remember discussing future plans with my peers. I heard a myriad of responses such as pursuing a rap career, or gain employment somewhere. At the time, I did not think anything of it. It was not until later in my college career, I began to see the decrease of black men on my campus and wondered why. The dropout rate of African American males could be drastically decreased if we could deepen our understanding of issues facing black men.