Stopping out: experiences of African American females at a Midwestern community college

Fountain, Shanna
Major Professor
Larry H. Ebbers
Committee Member
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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

The purpose of this study was to analyze the experiences of African American female community college students who stop out, and interpret how their gender and race have influenced these lived experiences. Based on the research questions, a constructivist, narrative analysis was used to capture the experiences of the participants of this study as well as analyze the environment of their personal lives as the institution in which they have all attended.

A total of six participants were interviewed. Three semi-structured interviews were held to provide a clear understanding of each participant's experiences. When combined and analyzed, the narratives of the six participants revealed that students do not all have the same experience when attending college. African American female students who were currently enrolled at a large multi-campus community college in the Midwest, and have stopped out were invited to participate in this study. For the participants in this study, family, work or the lack there of, had a tremendous effect on their decision to stop out. All of the students had experiences with a job that either caused them to stop out or to return to school after losing that job.

Future research could be done on African American male students who have stopped out of community college to gain a better understanding of serving all African American students. The study could compare and contrast the experiences of the females from this study as well as males to see if there are any similarities in their experiences.