The Vermont Connection


Jimmy Doan


Historically disenfranchised populations have had struggles in higher education ranging from access to academic achievement to retention rates. Research indicates that over half of all students of color who matriculate to four-year college careers fail to complete their degrees within six years. As the number of people of color who enroll in post-secondary education increases (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010), these issues remain pertinent concerns for college administrators and educators. One factor that contributes to this trend is the campus climate, especially for students of color. A second factor that affects the success of students of color in higher education is their involvement in student organizations, specifically ethnic student organizations. This paper examines these factors and their implication on the success of students of color. Factors are supported by qualitative and quantitative research examining racial-minority students, particularly at predominately White institutions (PWIs). In addition, suggestions for future research are discussed to develop the understanding of performance and perception of college experiences for students of color.