• Institutional Factors that Support and Impede Black Female Undergraduates at Predominantly White Institutions

      Pickens, Wanda V; Tift College of Education
      Under the direction of Dr. Olivia Boggs, Ed.D. The study addressed the persistently deficient baccalaureate degree attainment of African American females, documented by a graduation rate of 45%, compared to a national average of 65% for all women. Using phenomenological methodology, the study explored the academic, social, physical, emotional, psychological, and financial experiences of 11 Black female college alumnae who successfully completed their bachelor’s degrees at a [Predominantly White Institution (PWI)]. The depth of the inquiry allowed participants to retrospectively recall and ascribe meaning to their academic and non-academic undergraduate experiences. Each of the subjects provided insights into barriers and hindrances encountered during their undergraduate matriculation. Further, participants described experiences that facilitated, strengthened, and empowered their degree pursuits. Using theories of Black feminist thought along with a second lens of intersectionality, the study was guided by the following research question: What are the shared experiences of Black female undergraduates at predominantly white institutions that defined their lived experiences, the expectations placed upon them, and how they maneuvered through their educational journey? Data were collected through semi-structured interviews and analyzed utilizing a six-phase approach to thematic analysis. Findings revealed four themes: Non-Relatability and Non-Affirmation, Increased Self-Awareness Within PWI Spaces, Lack of Mentorship, and Retention Team. Findings further illustrated positive and negative influences of the participants’ academic, cultural, and social lived experiences. Recommendations were discussed that encompassed specific initiatives. The first initiative promoted the development of an empathetic approach design of support services specifically for Black female undergraduates. The second initiative advocated for equipping faculty and staff members who interface with Black female students regularly with the proper training they need to understand and embrace the African American culture. The third initiative involved utilizing dialogue and other tools to prevent exclusionary behaviors, policies, and stifling structures of power that hinder progress of retaining marginalized student populations. These initiatives aimed to guide university administration, faculty and staff who are committed to a transformative process to increase graduation rates for Black females matriculating at PWIs.
    • The Impact of Wealth on the Higher Education Outcome of Low-Income Black Students

      Brooks, Monica D; Tift College of Education
      ABSTRACT MONICA D. BROOKS THE IMPACT OF WEALTH ON THE HIGHER EDUCATION OUTCOME OF LOW-INCOME BLACK STUDENTS Under the direction of JANE WEST, Ed.D. Using data collected from the United States Census and the National Center for Educational Statistics, the purpose of this study was to examine the causal effect of wealth and its impact on the higher education outcome of low-income Black students. A quantile threshold model was used to investigate the effect of household wealth on low-income, Black students' educational attainment. Wealth, the primary explanatory variable, is proxied by the median housing value and median household per capita income. The target or dependent variable is education attainment among low-income, Black students. The control variables were the Black-to-White population ratio, number of retail trade establishments, student-to-teacher ratio, and public education budget per student allocations. The sample period runs from 1990 through 2018. The study employs quantile regression and finds that (a) household wealth has a positive and significant effect on the higher education attainment of low-income, Black students (b) the magnitude of the impact of household wealth on the educational attainment of low-income, Black students is time-varying, and asymmetric since the effects of household wealth vary in statistical significance across different quantiles of Black students' higher education attainment; (c) White-flight, which is associated with wealth flight, has a negative causal effect on the educational attainment of Black students. The results from this study show that higher education outcomes are reflective of household wealth. Policymakers should consider the accumulation and sustainability of household wealth as a critical driver of educational attainment in different communities.