A comparison of the enrollment, persistence and transfer rates of white and minority students at Des Moines Area Community College

Date
2003-01-01
Authors
Linduska, Kim
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Larry H. Ebbers
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Educational Leadership and Policy Studies
Abstract

The role of the community college has been to unlock the doors of education opportunity for all individuals, and provide the entry point to higher education. Community colleges are the primary gateway to education for many of our minority and first generation students. Reflecting national trends, enrollment of minority students in Iowa's community colleges is increasing. The available transfer data demonstrate the low participation and transfer rates of minority students in community colleges and in higher education, in general, in Iowa. A detailed analysis of the number of minority students enrolling, and persisting in community colleges and transferring to four-year institutions is warranted.;The purpose of this study was to determine if minority students enrolled at Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) as probable transfer students transferred to Iowa State University at the same rate as White students, and if there were any differences in the enrollment, within-term course retention, fall-to-spring persistence, and after transfer success rates of male students and female students in each of the minority groups at DMACC. The Chi-square test was used to compare expected frequencies calculated from DMACC's White student population with actual frequencies for DMACC's minority population.;Among the findings were: (a) with the exception of Hispanic students, most minority students enrolled in larger numbers than they exist in the population of the area; (b) Black and Asian students dropped courses at an alarmingly high rate during their first semester; (c) once minority students persisted past the first term of enrollment, the differences in persistence between minority and White students were minimal; (d) the transfer rate of Asian females was nearly double that of Black students; (e) and Black males transferred at very low rates and succeeded at significantly lower rates than their White peers.;The study should be replicated on a statewide basis, including all community colleges as well as the three Regents' universities. A qualitative study should include perceptions of adjustment to college, preparedness for college, use of college support services, importance of higher education to the student and family, and other factors that affect the quality of a student's college experience.

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