Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Education, Ed Leadership

Document Type




Student Perceptions of the HBCU and its Influence on College Choice.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) continue to represent a great legacy in the history of education for African Americans; however, these institutions are faced with current challenges that include: declining African -American enrollment, financial issues, and questions concerning the value that a degree from an HBCU may hold. Research illustrates how HBCUs are academically and culturally accommodating for Black students (Albritton, 2012; Fountaine, 2012; Fries-Britt & Turner, 2002; Outcalt & Skewes-Cox, 2002; Thompson, 2008), but when deciding on which college to attend, high schoolers give more consideration to financial access and prestige, and less to the development or affirmation of racial identities (Braddock & Hua, 2006; Fleming, 1984; Freeman & Thomas, 2002; Tobolowsky, Outcalt, & McDonough, 2005). The current scope of literature fails to recognize Black high school students’ perspectives on electing to attend an HBCU (Dancy & Brown, 2008; Davis, 2004; Dillon, 1999; Freeman, 1999). Critical Race Afrocentricity provides a lens to examine how HBCUs serve as a historical, as well as current option for educational opportunity among African-American college students in a time where the concept of race appears not to be a determinant in selecting a college.

This study examines the perceptions of 13 African-American college-bound high school students regarding attending an HBCU. It is necessary to examine the current role HBCUs will serve for future generations of African-American students. Findings of the study indicate that although African-American teens recognize the intellectual, cultural, and social value in attending an HBCU, they feel that factors such as financial affordability and academic reputation are more pertinent factors in selecting a college. Furthermore, there is a need for future research to examine the participants’ perspectives to their actual collegiate experiences.



Committee Chair

Mitchell, Roland



Available for download on Wednesday, January 14, 2026