Motivation for
Research

            Student
programs in higher education implemented for improving student retention lead
to positive learning results for all students when diverse students were
widespread. This research conducts a study as a probing study using literature
review focused on retention, diverse, underrepresented students, and higher
education. This research is important because it could help higher education
institutions with the concept on how to sustain populations of diversity to
guarantee that the perks of retention are successfully received. This research
is investigating the concern of why and how diversity has such an influence on
retention in higher education for African-Americans at any institution, either predominately
white or African American institution.

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            Upon
graduating in 1988 from a low-income, rural high school in Alabama, with the
desire to succeed and receive an education at an institute of higher education,
this uneasy feeling of feeling alone, especially when it came to race and
ethnicity, played an important factor in enrolling in a traditionally white
university. When arriving on campus, meeting diverse students from different
races, ethnic backgrounds, and nationalities, combatted the idea that this
university was diverse. Engaging in conversations with students from diverse
locations, cultures, and languages proved be a wonderful learning experience.
Unfortunately, the classroom and campus culture disputed that this was a campus
of diversity, because African American students were definitely underrepresented.
As the semester began, African-American students were present in class, but as the
semester continued, the presence of African-American student numbers would
tremendously reduce in the classroom. As it was revealed, African American
students on campus were faced with retention and graduation issues. Questions
were raised concerning the outcome of the African-American community on this
campus and all other campuses of higher education institutions. Where are the African
American college students?  What factors
determined the outcomes and experiences of these minority students? What could
be orchestrated and would make an impact to retain African Americans on campus.

            Over
the past 20 years, African-Americans earning degrees has doubled-with 10%
college degrees, 12% graduate degrees, and 7% doctoral degrees (U.S. Census Bureau,
2013). It is also determined that most African-Americans will enroll in lower-quality
institutions and with the likelihood not to graduate (Mettler, 2014). In order
to match the representation of the bureaucracy of the nation’s demographics,
then it is crucial for African-Americans to gain the same access to quality and
affordable higher education that will lead to degree-granting completion (Krislov,
2013). To determine this outcome, these areas must be examined: access,
affordability, and attainment.

            Education
has been always been known as the equalizer to establish a path to the middle
class. Inequality is now the culprit. Tuition has increased tremendously, and
most American families are no longer financially able to allow their children
to enroll in colleges and universities. College tuition has inflated by 244%
(Mettler, 2014), causing a reduction in the opportunity for middle and low-income
students to attend college. Along with increased tuition rates, students are
faced with mounds of debt. Students are left with federal loan debts, exceeding
the U.S. credit card debt (Mettler, 2014), and $200 billion in private student
loans are owed by students (Blumenstyk, 2015). Even though the United States
spends billions each year on higher education (Carnevale, Strohl, & Gulish,
2015), it is still ranked 12th worldwide for degree attainment (Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2013).

            Regardless
the huge amount of federal dollars used on higher education, minority groups of
American students are underrepresented or excluded from the college experience.
These individuals are identified as low-income and minority students
(Carnevale, 2015).  These low-income and
minority students most likely will enroll in lower-tiered colleges and universities
and will graduate with a higher student loan debt rate than high-income,
majority students (Huelsman, 2015).

            Mettler
(2014) has observed degrees of inequality deriving from two separate systems:
one for more privileged students, and one for low-income and minority students.
Also, Mettler observed (2014), the system of higher education is responsible
for the increasing inequality, as it classifies Americans by income rather than
giving them the advantage to elevate themselves with opportunity. Access,
affordability, and attainment is the core of this problem.

The Importance  

            Closing the high
school graduation, college attendance, or college completion gap between the
majority and the minority groups—the public is the beneficiary, including reduced
costs in social welfare and tax increases, outweigh the costs to provide the
education. There is a clear connection between the goals and preparation of
students and the effectiveness of the institutions in guaranteeing access, affordability,
and attainment.

            In
conclusion, this topic forced more research and, most importantly, intrigued
more thoughts about the facts being researched. More knowledge was gained about
African-American minorities being underrepresented in higher education. Knowing
more about the topic makes the research far easier. The experiences while
writing this paper will be helpful in the future by illuminating the factors of
underrepresented African-Americans in higher education.

 

 

 

References

Blumenstyk, G. (2015). American higher
education in crisis? What everyone needs to know.         New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Carnevale, A. P, Stroh, J., & Gulish, A.
(2015). College is just the beginning: Employers’ role in   the $1.1 trillion post-secondary education and
training system.

Huelsman, M. (2015). The debt divide: The
racial and class bias behind the “new normal” of

            student
borrowing .

 Krislov, S. (2013). Representative
bureaucracy. Classics of the social sciences. New Orleans,

            LA:
Quid Pro Books

Mettler, S. (2014). Degrees of inequality: How
the politics of higher education sabotaged the       American
dream. New York, NY: Basic Books