Black students account for over 72% of enrollments in higher education, but only a small percentage of them choose Early Childhood Education (ECE) as a field of study and complete the qualification. The purpose of this study was to examine, from the perspective of black ECE students, why so few of them enroll in this particular programme at a historically white university. Through a qualitative, case study approach the reasons for the low enrolment and completion rates were investigated. Participants mentioned that recruitment for this programme, particularly in rural areas should be improved. They also pointed out the higher prestige of other career options, the linguistic challenges they face, the cost of university education and early teacher education in particular, as well as access to transport and resources as barriers to recruitment and retention. Their recommendations for higher enrollment rates included the use of black students to recruit in rural and in township areas, increased funding for bursaries, and more culturally sensitive pedagogies in early childhood teacher education.