Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Theory, Policy, and Practice

Document Type



Fifty percent of all students who enroll in college depart before earning their degree; this proportion is even higher among minorities during the first year of college (Tinto, 2006). Minorities have typically had fewer opportunities to gain a college education. Once enrolled in college, minorities have generally found it more difficult to succeed academically and graduate (Strayhorn, 2011). There is one group among the collective of minorities that are even further behind the rest, African American males. African American males are one of the most underrepresented populations of students on college campuses around the nation (Feagin, Vera, & Imani, 1996). Relatively few Black men enroll in four-year colleges and universities (Cuyject, 2006); in fact, of the approximate 15 million undergraduate students in the United States, less than 5% are Black men (NCES, 2009). In response to the trends and challenges faced by Black men, the federal government, as well as higher education institutions, have invested considerable resources in the development and implementation of programs and services that are designed to provide the necessary academic and social support researchers have found to be integral to the success of students in college (Astin, 1993; Swail, Redd & Perna, 2003 and Tinto, 1993). One of the federal government’s responses to this issue is the development of numerous pre-college programs. The aim of this study was to determine whether pre-college programs (i.e., Upward Bound, Talent Search & G.E.A.R. UP) are effective in realizing their goals for African American men, particularly as it relates to their college retention rates. Using the National Center for Education Statistics’ Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002) guided by Tinto’s Student Attrition model, the researcher sought to determine: To what extent does participating in a pre-college program influence the first-year retention rates of African American males in college, controlling for differences in, background traits, academic preparedness and parental level of education? The findings from this study suggest that out of three federally funded pre-college programs Upward Bound, Talent Search and G.E.A.R. UP, only the Talent Search program has any impact on the retention rate of African American males in college.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Mitchell, Roland



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Education Commons