Culture - it's the real barrier to college. Basically even our professional parents do not do enough preparation for us to go to college.
- no financial saving for college - no prep courses for standardized tests - poor schools, or treated poorly in good schools - either by being tracking into special ed, or into athletics - many of our parents haven't been to college, or were the first ones in the family - no cultural capital. It's quite a thing when your parents have baby pictures of you at the homecoming game of their alma mater. When their parents, and their parents before them all went to college. That level of understanding of how education works in this country can't just be put into a 22 minute sit-com.
- not understanding money
Money is an important issue, but understanding how money works is even more important. There are tons of programs, grants, scholarships, and what 80% of all students use, Loans for college.
But black people, and poor people in general are afraid of debt. When I was a counselor I met a ton of intelligent students from rural areas who wanted to get vocational training. Having gone to college I'm very biased for college (although I've rethought that in recent years). But they were incredibly scared of going into debt.
You can't really explain good debt and bad debt to someone who's had stuff cut off and reposessed. It's beyond their scope of experience.