The Male Graduation Gap

Kelly Field:

Even before the pandemic forced tens of thousands of Americans to quit college, Oscar Joya struggled to stay in school.

In 2018, when he was a sophomore, he’d dropped out of the University of Washington to earn tuition money and focus on his mental health. One quarter off stretched into two, until Paul Metellus, the student-success coordinator in the college’s Brotherhood Initiative for men of color, helped Joya stitch together the resources he needed to re-enroll.

“He was always on my case, in the most positive way,” recalled Joya, who is the youngest of four children of Mexican immigrants, and the first to attend college.

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