This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Investigation of the Relationship between Four Factors and Their Influence on the Persistence of African American Students at a Southeastern Historically Black University




Smith-King, TaShara

Type of Degree



Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of four factors that influence African American students to remain enrolled at a southeastern HBCU. Historically Black Colleges and Universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the black community (Hurd, 2001). This study was designed to identify whether or not student involvement, in addition to the quality of academic advising, instruction and customer service contributed towards student retention and persistence. Furthermore, this study is intended to increase literature as it relates to student retention particularly among African American students who attend HBCUs. The data analyzed in the study was collected using student responses from the Student Life Involvement Survey (SLIS) and withdrawal survey data reported by the university. The top four reasons that affected students’ decision to withdraw by those students who voluntarily completed the withdrawal survey and were a part of the 2007 to 2011 cohort were identified. According to the data, students listed the lack of quality customer service and lack of quality social activities as the top two reasons why they chose to withdraw from the university. The lack of quality academic advising and lack of quality instruction were both noted equally as reasons the students decided to leave the university. The top four reasons for remaining at the university as identified by those students who were enrolled in the Fall 2011 semester and completed the SLIS were also identified. According to the data, students listed quality of social activities and quality of academic advising as the top two reasons why they chose to remain at the university.