Retention Rate for African American Women Aged 40-50 in Obtaining Higher Education


The significance of higher education seems to have grown exponentially over the past few decades. Most jobs demand that the applicant should have a diploma. As a result, a number of people who failed at attaining the certificate of a graduate student rush to complete their courses. Among the people who rush to obtain the higher education diploma, a number of African American women in their forties or fifties have been noticed.

Recent reports have shown, however, that the retention rates among African American students aged 40–50 remain comparatively low despite the latest changes in standards for job applicants. The retention rate can be attributed to not only the differences in the social status of the Africa American students of 40–50 years old but also the specifics of the African American culture of communication, which the present-day standards for student groups’ interaction do not encourage.

Topic Explanation

Education for African American population has been the reason for concern since recently. Although an increase in African American female applicants for entering the university has increased, the number of Black people continuing their studies is still upsettingly low (Crystal, 2011), especially among the students in their forties and fifties. By analyzing the factors affecting the dropout and retention rate among Black students aged 40–50, one can possibly come up with a viable solution.

Significance for the Chosen Field

The given research is going to be a crucial part of my study of the chosen field. Understanding the specifics of the African American students’ attitude towards learning in general (Bryan, Day-Vines, Griffin & Moore-Thomas, 2012) and learning in the modern environment in particular, as well as the motivations that African American female students’ choices are predetermined by will help me advance in my evaluation of caregiving in African American community (Brown, Morning. & Watkins, 2011).

More to the point, the age issue, particularly the choice of the age range (40 to 50 years old African Americans) must be predetermined by a range of factors, analyzing which will help solve the issue regarding low retention rates and come up with the possible solutions on how to improve the situation and develop the strategy that will help African American people in their 40s and 50s finally receive their degree.

Research Questions

Cozby and Bates claim that research questions arise from curiosity sparked by observations (Cozby & Bates, 2012). The observations for the given research show that retention rates among African Americans in their forties or fifties are lower than those among other people of the same age. Therefore, the following questions are going to be answered in the research:

  1. How high are the retention rates among the African American students aged 40–50?
  2. Has there been any change in the retention rates among African American female students in their forties and fifties over the past few decades?
  3. What are the changes in the retention rates among African American students aged 40–50 predisposed by?
  4. With the help of which strategies can the retention rate among African American female students of 40–50 years old be increased?

Research Hypothesis and Relation between the Variables (Age, Gender, Dropout Rates)

Judging by the data provided in the recent researches, African American female students, especially those in their 40s and 50s, strive for higher education not because of the willingness to gain new knowledge and skills, but because the job requirements listed by employees require that the applicant should have these skills and knowledge (Engdahl, 2012). In other words, African American female students lack motivation because of racial profiling (Beacham, Askew & Williams, 2009); more to the point, the need to provide for the family and the health issues related to their age affect the retention rates negatively.

Reference List

Beacham, T. D., Askew, R. & Williams, P. R. (2009). Strategies to increase racial/ethnic student participation in the nursing profession. ABNF Journal, 20(3), 69–72.

Brown, A. R., Morning, C. & Watkins, C. (2011). Influence of African American engineering student perceptions of campus climate on graduation rates. Journal of Engineering Education, 94(2), 263-271.

Bryan, J., Day-Vines, N. L., Griffin, D. & Moore-Thomas, C. (2012). The disproportionality dilemma: patterns of teacher referrals to school counselors for disruptive behavior. Journal of Counseling and Development, 90(2), 177-190.

Cozby, P. & Bates, S. (2012). Methods in behavioral research (11th ed). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Crystal, L. T. (2011). Reflections on the racial web of discipline. Monthly Review, 63(3), 87–95.

Engdahl, E. (2012). The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts: A model for community-based multicultural arts education. Multicultural Education, 19(2), 43–48.

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