W. Bernt King


The purpose for this phenomenological study is to understand the persistence of academically successful African-American and Hispanic students in an ethnically diverse higher education context where services and support targeting minority students do not formally exist. The research for this study has been conducted on campuses where the student body demographics are largely mono-ethnic. It would seem that as institutions of higher education become increasingly diverse, contributing factors to success for students of color may change. Themes that emerged include having a spiritual perspective, having a sense of purpose or the big picture, having support from family, having support from the individuals within the institution, and having self-motivation.

With the increasingly competitive nature of higher education and the need for a higher education degree in the marketplace, there is an expectation that academic institutions will address student persistence as well as equal opportunity for success among all students. However, there remains in higher education a certain inequality, especially when considering student persistence and the unique needs of minority students in higher education (Jost, Whitfield, & Jost, 2005). While there may be a variety of reasons for such a reality, recent research and development addressing student persistence among minority students helps to address the issue.