Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Public Policy (PhD)

Degree Level



Public Policy


Brinck Kerr

Committee Member

Valerie H. Hunt

Second Committee Member

Michael T. Miller


African American, Anti-Deficit framework, Community Colleges, Graduation, Males, Public Policy, student retention


There is a problem in higher education in the United States. African American students, specifically males, are not being retained and graduating. This problem is even more evident for students that attend two year colleges. African American male students lag behind white males, Hispanic males and African American females, in retention and graduation rates. This problem has caught the attention of many leaders. Policy makers and college leaders are among those who seek to understand the why and find solutions to the challenge of African American male student retention at two year colleges, as two year colleges are becoming the first choice of college enrollment for African American males. The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the impact that a federally-funded program has on the retention and academic success of Black males at an urban, predominantly-African American two-year college. Because it is important to know what works, versus what doesn’t work, the study used the Anti Deficit Model, to focus on successes rather than non-successes.

The qualitative study used a purpose sampling strategy and five students from the federally funded program and three administrators who were affiliated with the program, that were selected as case study participants. While the study used various methods of data collection, face to face, semi structured interviews were the primary source of data for the study. The study focused on four research questions to determine the student’s perspectives on the program and its impacts on their retention. An additional question for the staff members was added to gain their perspective on how the program benefited the students and fit within the goals and mission of the college.

The student participants provided insight into the how they were retained, relevant to the program and institution. Suggestions from the administrators who participated in the study provided insight as to how institutions can weave this information into future planning, goals and mission, of institutions of higher education. These findings will be helpful to college administrators and policy makers, as they review and devise strategies that will support the retention of African American males at two year colleges.