Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Access now: Exploring the perceptions and experiences of college access for today's youth
by Daugherty, Eleanor Julia Burke, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2015, 168; 3683364
Abstract (Summary)

Over the past several decades, there has been a great deal of discussion on the creation and maintenance of affirmative action programs for under-represented students in higher education. There is ample literature of the development of these programs, the role of state and federal agencies, and the ultimate resulting diversification of American institutions of higher education. This exploratory study seeks to improve our understanding of how access to higher education is perceived and experienced by African American students attending college in the 21st century.

The exploratory study is a case study with a phenomenological perspective involving students entering college, K-12 and higher education administrators, and experts in the field of higher education. The researcher utilized individual interviews, group interviews, reflections, and a review of archival data and relevant theories. The study demonstrates how African American students (a) perceive and experience higher education, (b) develop a sense of agency and identity that impacts how they believe themselves to be perceived by their community, and (c) utilize that sense of agency and identity to influence college selection, as well as (d) how their academic and social transition to college is influenced by education officials and community.

Students in this study had a challenging transition to higher education. They had attended a predominantly African American high school that was highly focused on supporting student access to college. However, the students were not prepared to experience a diverse campus for the first time without the individualized attention they had received in their high school.

This study demonstrates that access and persistence within higher education is highly influenced by the support students received within their academic, social, and familial communities. It also indicates the significant financial pressure of affording higher education, a stressor throughout the college experience of these students.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Anderson, Gregory, Yorks, Lyle
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
Department: Interdisciplinary Studies in Education
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Educational leadership
Keywords: Access, Affirmative action, Agency, Persistence, Retention, Students of color
Publication Number: 3683364
ISBN: 978-1-321-57486-9
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