Title page for ETD etd-05182000-14100013

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Hayden, Melanie L.
URN etd-05182000-14100013
Title Factors that Influence the College Choice Process for African American Students
Degree Master of Arts
Department Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Hirt, Joan B. Committee Chair
Dixon, Benjamin Committee Member
Scott, Delores W. Committee Member
  • African American college students
  • college selection
Date of Defense 2000-05-10
Availability unrestricted
Factors that Influence the College Choice Process

for African American Students

Melanie L. Hayden


There has been a slight increase in African

American enrollment in higher education in the 30

years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

However, minority students are not represented in

higher education in numbers proportionate to their

representation in the general population. African

Americans consist of 12.6% of the population, but

only 10.6% of the students enrolled in higher

education (Chronicle of Higher Education Almanac,


Additionally, there are differences in the types

of schools that successfully educate African

American students. Historically Black institutions

(HBIs) confer a disproportionately high number of

bachelor's degrees on such students. Of all the

bachelor's degrees conferred on African Americans

in 1994, over 43% were awarded by predominantly

White institutions (PWIs) while HBIs conferred

45.1% of the degrees (Nettles & Perna, 1997).

There seems to be some difference between the

success rates of African American students at PWIs

and HBIs.

One of the factors that may influence these

success rates is the college selection process.

That is, if there are different types of African

American students attending PWIs versus HBIs,

those differences may account for some of the

differences in success rates at the two types of

schools. It would seem that research is needed on

the factors that African Americans consider in the

college selection process, and if those factors

differ between African Americans at PWIs and those

at HBIs. The present study sought to examine this


A 60-item survey was developed specifically for

this study. Survey items asked respondents to rate

the extent of influence (very negative to very

positive) that factors in four arenas played in

their decision to attend a particular school. The

four arenas explored in the study included

academic factors, social factors, personal factors

, and financial factors. The target sample

included 360 traditional aged freshmen students:

180 at a PWI and 180 at a HBI.

Mean scores and standard deviations were

calculated on all items for each group. These were

rank-ordered by group to explore differences by

item. Then a factor analysis was conducted to

create subscales of the items for each scale.

Finally, independent t-tests were conducted to

compare mean scores between groups. Results

revealed no significant differences in mean score

between groups or any of the subscales. However,

important differences between groups were

identified when the rankings of the mean scores

were examined.

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