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Black Men Were Offered a Second Chance at College

Then pitfalls piled up

After six years working at a rental car company at the airport, Dayne Burns approached his 30s longing for a change.

So, it felt like fate in early 2021 when he saw Morehouse College in Atlanta was offering online classes. In promotional materials, the school touted its mission to serve prospective students like Burns, one of the millions of Black men in America who started college but never graduated. Beyond offering a degree, Morehouse was offering a second chance.

“To help more men like you transform into the leaders they were meant to be, we’ve created an empowering, affordable educational experience that’s accessible from anywhere in the country,” said the Morehouse Online website.

For Burns, the opportunity to complete his studies at one of the nation’s top historically Black colleges and universities from his home in South Carolina felt like a way “to turn everything around.”

After being accepted, the setbacks started quickly and kept coming. Burns learned the advertised computer science degree wasn’t ready. Only after starting classes did he discover that about half his college credits had not transferred, making him a freshman when he expected to be almost a junior. Confusion about the financial aid process led to Burns and others being dropped from classes a few weeks into his summer term.

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