Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Danette L. Brown


AbstractRetention rates for African American students attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have been low compared to rates of predominantly White institutions. The problem investigated was the retention rates of African American students enrolled at degree-granting Title IV HBCUs. The absence of research focused on African American students and retention at HBCUs leaves more to be learned about how institutions can improve retention rates for this population. The purpose of this correlational study was to examine the association between nonacademic factors (enrollment status, residency status, SES, and family income) and retention rate (full-time and part-time) for African American full-time, first-time degree/certificate-seeking undergraduates awarded Title IV federal financial aid and enrolled at 4-year private and public degree-granting Title IV HBCUs. Chen and DesJardins’s model of student dropout risk gap by income level laid the groundwork for this study. Secondary data for 2015–2019 from 90 Title IV degree-granting 4-year HBCUs were analyzed. Multiple linear regression and one-way analysis of variance revealed significant associations between nonacademic factors (enrollment status and family income) and SES (number awarded Pell grant) and full-time retention rates for private and public HBCUs. Part-time retention revealed no significant associations with the nonacademic factors for public and private HBCUs. Social change can be achieved by using these findings to create programs, secure additional funding allocations, and improve institutional processes to increase African American student retention rates. Having clear retention strategies could increase HBCUs’ level of viability, stability, and purpose within higher education.