A Survey of Black Student Perceptions and Attitudes on the Utilization of Academic Retention Programs
In this study I examine the perceptions and attitudes of black students attending a predominantly white institution (PWI) concerning student support services designed to assist them in achieving social and academic success. PWIs have established minority retention programs with an overall mission of recruiting and retaining black students; however, program use is minimal and black students continue to depart college prematurely. This research seeks to assess the perceptions and attitudes of black students to determine if program ambiguity, lack of faculty involvement or available mentoring, campus affiliation, racism, or time taken away from academic pursuits has a role in whether or not students will utilize minority retention programs. The data analysis revealed that students felt there was a need for better marketing of minority retention programs. A large number of students were working 20 or more hours per week limiting the amount of time for academic activities. Perceptions of the racial climate indicate the existence of discrimination, but it was not viewed as adversely affecting black students' educational experience. However, black students perceived the university as not fulfilling its social and cultural needs as the majority of respondents tended to socialize among themselves. Perceptions about faculty involvement indicate that most of the respondents had limited contact and interactions with minority faculty, and the majority indicated the need for more accessibility to minority faculty.