Factors Influencing the Persistence of Students Enrolled in STEM Programs at Historically Black Community Colleges

  • Latitia Mccane
  • Thomas J. Durant


A qualitative phenomenological approach was used to investigate the role of  academic integration in the persistence of students enrolled in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) programs at historically black community colleges. Using Tinto’s theory of persistence, four factors were examined: academic integration, faculty interaction, social integration, and student interaction. The methodology for the study included a purposeful sample of 15 students from five community colleges located in a southern state, using semi-structured interviewing for data collection. In support of Tinto’s theory, the study found that academic integration, faculty interaction, peer interaction, and social integration played an important role in the persistence of STEM students. Other themes that emerged from the data that positively influenced persistence were supportive environment, involvement, and maintaining connections. Community colleges were found to provide an important talent pool of minority STEM students who were college ready.

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