Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Sherwood Thompson

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Second Advisor

Roger C. Cleveland

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Third Advisor

Wardell Johnson

Department Affiliation

Exercise and Sport Science


According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2015), between 1996 and 2008, Black (African-American may be used interchangeably with Black, as defined through this study) college students had the lowest graduation rates among racial groups at four-year public institutions. Furthermore, more recent provisional data from the National Center for Education Statistics for 2008-2013, further support continued disproportional retention and graduation rates of Black college students. Therefore, given this, the present study examined the relationship between academic achievement and an increase in Black students' satisfaction with their college experience at Predominately White Institutions (PWIs) and institutionally funded supportive associations for undergraduate students of color.

The study specifically considered Black undergraduate students at regional, four-year, public PWIs in Kentucky, evaluating their academic achievement, social involvement, occupational aspirations, student educational background, educational goals, demographic characteristics and personal adjustment to college. Using in-depth, phenomenological interviews, the study investigated the possible relationship between the "Stop-Out" and "Drop Out" of Black students, reconstructing their experiences and sharing their stories about the factors that led students to retain at the university and for students to leave their PWI. Based on the results, this study offers suggestions for PWIs interested in implementing support associations for Black undergraduate students to address stop-out and drop-out.