Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Neil Mathur, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Daniel Shepherd, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Alicia Holland, Ed.D.


community college, 2-year college, minority college students, low income, student motivation, qualitative study, African American college students


The path towards higher education is not the same for all. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore why African American students enroll into community college in the Midwest at higher percentages than any other racial group but persist to graduation at the lowest percentages. Factors that hinder African American students from persisting toward graduation and eventual degree completion from a 2-year college were uncovered through interviews conducted with participants on community college campuses throughout the Midwest. Considering the findings of this study, it is suggested that professors and instructors use classroom interactions and instructional opportunities to provide mentorship to African American students that will support focus and ignite the determination to graduate. Additionally, career and life coaching should be offered to assist African American students toward graduation. Together these components of mentorship and assistance can encourage African American students to overcome the obstacles they face in reaching their goal to graduate.