Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Although a large body of literature exists on the characteristics and experiences of black students attending predominantly white colleges and universities, very little empirical research on blacks attending predominantly black colleges and universities is available. Existing studies usually lack comparative groups of black and white students who attend predominantly white colleges and universities, hence it is difficult to determine the unique characteristics of the blacks who attend black colleges. To remedy this situation the present study surveyed a representative group of black students attending a publicly-supported black university. The purpose of the study was to determine unique or attractive features of black universities that led students to attend them. In addition, students problems, experiences, and kinds of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with college life was assessed. A survey schedule developed for this study was administered to 117 black Ss at the black university and 117 black and 117 white students at a large predominantly white university located in the same community that served as a comparative group. The survey was administered through face-to-face interviews. Analysis of Variance and Chi Squares were conducted on each appropriate item. A separate analysis was done on the black student group using sex and college year as main effects. An analysis also compared the three college groups, using groups, sex, and college year as main effects. The results indicate that while all students are attracted to their respective university for a variety of educational reasons, the blacks attending a predominantly black university are more strongly influenced by the prospective program and faculty in their field of interest. Also social factors played a stronger role in determining college choice for blacks on the predominantly black campus and whites on the predominantly white campus than was the case for blacks on the white campus. Being more comfortable around other blacks, and similar race-related reasons were significant college choice factors for blacks who attended the predominantly black university. Blacks at the predominantly white universities, on the other hand, are more strongly influenced by status factors in choosing a college. Blacks at the predominantly black university were more influenced by an attractive offer of financial aid than the blacks at the predominantly white university. Concerning satisfaction with their experiences as students, blacks at the predominantly black university were found to have greater satisfaction than did the blacks at the predominantly white campus. Blacks as a group tended to be more concerned with financial problems than whites, and black students at the predominantly black university were far less likely to admit to personal-emotional than the blacks at predominantly white universities. Blacks at the predominantly black school were more involved in campus functions and events than other students and compared to blacks on white campuses, had more active social lives. Both black student groups were similar in many background characteristics, but a major difference is that the former group typically comes from a higher socio-economic background. The data suggest that this background difference may be influential in college choice and choice of college major. The study suggests that different motivations and interests appear to be operating to lead black students to attend either predominantly white or predominantly black colleges.