At most colleges and universities, African American and Latino students are less likely than students from other racial and ethnic backgrounds to stay enrolled in college and are, therefore, less likely to earn a college degree. The Digest of Educational Statistics reports the following trends: in 2006 30% of Whites age 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree, while 17% of Blacks and 12% of Hispanics age 25 and older held a bachelor’s degree (National Center for Educational Statistics [NCES], 2008). The research presented here is a case study of a cohort of students attending a public research university in California who are exceptional. Unlike the situation at most colleges and universities, African American students in this cohort are significantly less likely to leave college than are other students, whereas Latino students are significantly more likely to leave than are other students. In order to understand why there is a difference in the retention of African American students and Latino students, we examined the extent to which the precollege and college experiences of students in this cohort vary by race/ethnicity. We examined which characteristics affect the retention of Latino students, as well as other racial/ethnic groups.


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pp. 325-335
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