Date of Award

Spring April 2010

Access Restriction


Degree Name

Doctorate in Education



School or College

School of Education

First Advisor

Elizabeth A. Stoddard

Second Advisor

Karen K. Huchting

Third Advisor

Refugio Rodriguez


Persistence of African-American and Latino community college students has lagged behind other ethnic groups. The longitudinal study covered three years that included four semesters. Data from aggregated records of a community college in Southern California were analyzed to gain better understanding of factors that could explain varying rates of persistence. The data represented 609 African-American and Latino community college students who enrolled for the first-time in the fall 2006 semester. In addition to descriptive analysis, the data were subjected to t-tests, Pearson correlation, and multiple regression.

These findings revealed that access to a college counselor (p < .01) and offers of financial aid assistance (p < .01) and services from EOPS (p < .05) significantly and positively influenced persistence. The impact of age and SES differed by ethnicity. Older African-American students (p < .01) and younger Latino students (p < .01) were more likely to persist. Socioeconomic status (p < .01) was found to significantly influence persistence for African-American students. SES was not found to be significant in Latino community college student persistence. Age, gender, and completing a personal development course did not significantly influence African-American or Latino community college student persistence.

The findings can help educators understand African-American and Latino community college student persistence. Community college counselors can facilitate persistence and can have the greatest impact when their contact with students occurs early in the college experience. Further, high schools and community colleges need to work together to disperse information and encourage students to plan for their college education.