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Models of Minority College Going and Retention

Concepts of Financial Aid

A very important assumption regarding college access and retention is that financial aid allows young adults to enroll in college.  The assumption is that low income and working class youth do not attend college because of affordability issues.  However, Tierney (2008) asserts that while financial aid is significant, financial aid alone cannot remedy the challenge of college student access and retention for minorities.

References

Hossler, D. Braxton, J., & Coopersmith, G. (1989).  Understanding student college choice. Higher education: Handbook of theory and research, 5, 231-288. New York: Agathon.

Tierney, W.G. (2008). The impact of culture on organizational decision making: theory and practice in higher education. Sterling: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Concepts of Academic and Social Integration

Tinto’s (1987) theory of college student departure explains the reasons why students depart from colleges and universities. Tinto identifies three major sources of student departure: academic difficulties, failure to achieve educational or career goals, and lack or failure of social integration (Tierney, 2008). In addition, Tinto’s (1987) model of college student retention suggests that student involvement predicts retention.  Tinto’s theory suggests that student attitudes toward graduation and individual skills, knowledge, ability, and background influence commitment to a college or university.  Astin also offers a similar student involvement theory. Van Gennep’s (1960) anthropological model asserts that various groups of people participate in rites of passage that allow group members to transition from one status to the next (i.e. adolescence to adulthood).  Van Gennep’s model contributes to Tinto’s model in that students success and retention at colleges and universities depends on how they integrate socially and academically (move through the rites of passage).     

References

Tierney, W.G. (2008). The impact of culture on organizational decision making: theory and practice in higher education. Sterling: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

Tinto, V. (1987). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of studet attritiion. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Van Gennep, A. (1960). The rites of passage. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cultural Concepts

Bourdieu’s (1986) cultural capital refers to a set of principles and cultural competencies inherited by organizational members.  The assumption under cultural capital is that youth in the middle and upper class obtain cultural capital through family and community.  College admission is a core value in this community and therefore, students inherit a sense of academic engagement.  However, students from low income families may not necessarily have the same experience.  Bourdieu’s (1977) habitus identifies environmental factors that help individuals to make meaning of the world.  The implication of habitus is that minorities are unable to shed their cultural heritage, the way they make meaning of the world.  Therefore, higher education leaders should consider cultural implications on learning. Cultural integrity refers to the degree in which academic programs and pedagogy engage racial and ethnic minorities in a encouraging manner.  Tierney (2008) notes minorities are more likely to succeed in academic institutions that actively embrace and embody the same culture and identity.  

References

Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

 

Bourdieu, P. (1986). Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education.  New York: Greenwood

Tierney, W.G. (2008). The impact of culture on organizational decision making: theory and practice in higher education. Sterling: Stylus Publishing, LLC.

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