Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A Framework for Success

Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A Framework for Success

Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A Framework for Success

Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A Framework for Success

Synopsis

In the last decade, the rates of enrollment and retention of many students of color have declined. Access and completion rates for African American, Hispanic, and Native American students have always lagged behind white and Asian students, as have those for low-income students and students with disabilities. Because students of color often make up a much smaller percentage of students in studies, their experiences and needs are often lost and go undetected.

As the authors note, the United States will become significantly less white over the next fifty years, so these issues are becoming more urgent. We must have institution-wide programs to improve the graduation rates of minority students. Pre-college preparation, admission policies, affirmative action, and financial aid are important factors, but campus-wide support, from the chancellor's office to the classroom, is critical to success.

This ASHE-ERIC Higher Education Report is intended as a reference for key stakeholders regarding the realities of and strategies for student retention. It is our hope that it will serve as a compass for those with the complex task of improving retention.

Excerpt

In the last decade, the rates of enrollment and retention of certain students o color have declined. Although attention to the need to diversify the student body and create a welcoming climate has increased, success has been limited. In a social and political climate where affirmative action is under attack and the means for ensuring diversity are becoming narrower, we need strategies for retaining students who are able to enter higher education. Over the last few decades, professionals have searched for generalized strategies and techniques to retain students, but often studies have not examined the specific needs of students of color. Because students of color often make up a much smaller percentage of students in studies, their experiences and needs are often lost and go undetected. As Swail, Redd, and Perna describe, the United States will become significantly less white over the next fifty years, so these issues are becoming more urgent.

Retaining Minority Students in Higher Education: A Framework for Success by Watson Scott Swail, with Kenneth E. Redd and Laura W. Perna, is being published at a crucial time: campuses realize they need to make changes yet have few if any strategies to move forward. This monograph, which provides a framework that can fundamentally alter retention and success of all students, begins with a description of the context for students of color, retrenchment of affirmative action, and the reduction in the pipeline of students of color. The authors highlight the need to move from a focus on access, the main thrust of federal policy the last three decades, to success. In the following chapters, the monograph shifts the discussion to what happens once students of color come to college campuses. The heart of the book outlines why students leave college . . .

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