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Ethnic minority students and the academic climate factors in the retention and attrition of graduate ethnic minority students

1 January 2016


By the year 2060, it is projected that ethnic minorities may become the majority (APA, 2015). With the rapid increase of ethnic minorities, more ethnic minorities will be enrolled in graduate programs across the United States. Hence, it is important to understand the current experiences of ethnic minority students (EMS) in graduate programs with the aim of identifying factors that are associated with their academic retention and attrition. Despite the literature reporting that EMS face a great deal of barriers and challenges when pursuing advanced degrees, few studies have examined the factors contributing to the academic experiences of EMS in their graduate programs. The purpose of this dissertation was to examine the effects of the following factors on EMS enrolled in the United States graduate psychology programs: (a) financial support, (b) perceived mentoring support, (c) perceived dominant Eurocentric curriculum concerns, and (d) perceived academic socialization expectations. Some literature suggested relations between the above mentioned factors and EMS staying in their graduate programs until graduation. While studies have addressed the role of financial support and mentoring for EMS at the graduate level, limited research has established empirical evidence of various factors related to EMS staying in their graduate programs until graduation. A total of 91 ethnic minority graduate students participated in this study. The results indicate a significant negative relation between perceived academic socialization expectations and the probability that EMS would stay in their program until graduation. Neither financial support, perceived mentoring support, nor perceived dominant Eurocentric curriculum concerns were found to be significantly related to the probability that EMS would stay in their programs until graduation. Implications of the results and future directions are discussed.


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