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Retention of Black and Hispanic Doctoral Students. Part I: Personal and Background Characteristics of Persisting and Nonpersisting Black and Hispanic Graduate Students, Part II: Retention...Practices GREB

Clewell, Beatriz Chu
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Graduate Record Examinations Board, Background, Black Students, Doctoral Programs, Graduate Students, Hispanic Students, School Holding Power, Student Characteristics


This study tested the feasibility of determining whether factors influencing persistence and nonpersistence of minority doctoral students can be identified; whether potentially successful minority doctoral students can be identified at the graduate entry level; and whether institutional practices that encourage or determine minority participation in graduate education can be determined. For Part I of the study, 63 persisting and nonpersisting doctoral students were interviewed regarding their experiences in graduate school; information about their personal and background characteristics was also collected. Persisters came from low socioeconomic backgrounds; showed a high degree of achievement in high school; had supportive major advisers; participated in professional activities while in graduate school; pursued the Ph.D. because of a desire for knowledge; and, in spite of wanting to leave the programs, completed the doctorate because they did not wish to experience failure. For Part II of the study, 52 faculty and staff at six graduate institutions were interviewed to determine their policies and practices regarding minority doctoral students. It was found that the level of support for minority students varied greatly among institutions. Policies and practices that appear to encourage participation of minority students include an institution-wide policy regarding minority graduate students; coordination of services for minority students by an entity above the departmental level; early identification of minority applicants; special admissions arrangements; support services focused on minority students' needs; and efficient record keeping to monitor effectiveness of efforts.

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