Community College Journal of Research and Practice 01/1998; 22(8):751-760. DOI: 10.1080/1066892980220804

ABSTRACT A considerable amount of effort is expended encouraging students to enroll in higher education programs. It is, therefore, disappointing to all concerned when students fail to complete their programs. It is even more distressing when one particular group of enrollees is identified as failing to persist with their studies at a disproportionately high rate. This was the issue faced by Kennedy‐King College during the early 1990s. The African American male, nontraditional student (either more than 24 years old, or part‐time enrollee, or live off campus), was identified in this category with the withdrawal/departure behavior becoming a serious and increasing problem.Kennedy‐King College is a non‐residential, two‐year community college located in a neighborhood of Chicago that is predominantly African American (97%), low income (70% below the poverty level), with a comparatively high crime rate and a public school system that has been described as “somewhat ineffective.” More than 30% of the students are residents of this community.The study consisted of a literature review; consideration of the variables identified from the review that had previously been thought to affect student persistence; quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis carried out with the African American male students; the development and testing of a persistence model incorporating previous and newly identified variables; and the development of a college strategy designed to increase the persistence of these students.

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