Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Educational Leadership, Evaluation and Organizational Development

Degree Program

Educational Leadership and Organizational Development, PhD

Committee Chair

Gross, Jacob

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Hirschy, Amy

Committee Member

Hirschy, Amy

Committee Member

Rivers, Ishwanzya

Committee Member

Sun, Jeffrey

Author's Keywords

African American students'; HBCUs; economic and sociological factors; first-year


Despite the long struggle to gain access, African Americans always have valued education. Historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) were established to educate Blacks. The racial integration of predominately White institutions (non-HBCUs) in the 1960s led to decreased enrollments in HBCUs and challenged their relevance. The purpose of this study is to discover what factors influence African American students to choose an HBCU today. Quantitative, secondary survey data methods were used to conduct the study. African American students at HBCUs and non-HBCUs participated in the survey. Consistent with generally accepted approaches in analyzing student college choice, this study utilized logistic regression to isolate the relationships between independent variables and dependent variables after controlling for other variables. Influences affecting Black students’ college choice fell into three main categories: student characteristics, economic factors, and sociological factors. Students’ high school grade point averages were one primary predictor for selecting an HBCU. Other influences were found in students’ socioeconomic backgrounds. Policymakers, v counselors, and teachers must understand that while financial aid is important, it is not always the greatest influence when African American students are choosing a college. It is important for those working with African American students to understand multiple factors in order to give optimal support in the decision process.