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Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.

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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




School of Education and Human Services


Black and Latinx students are completing college at lower rates compared to White and Asian students. Many studies have documented the role of academic support services in helping students successfully complete college. Yet, many of the support services are built into students’ course schedules during freshman year to help transition to college. During the sophomore year, many of those supports are no longer built in, and students must seek them out themselves. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the reasons high-achieving Black and Latinx students opt in or opt out of using academic support services and whether their reasons are related to cultural wealth, stereotype threat, and/or the culture of a predominantly White institution (PWI). Interviews were conducted with 14 students and 5 administrators. Students who used the tutoring or writing center found it helpful to pass a course or improve their writing. Other students noted they participated in an academic support program because they wanted to make friends with students of color on campus. The reasons students opted out of using support services included the availability of tutors, seeking help from family and peers, and wanting to figure things out on their own. Some students reported negative racial experiences at the PWI, which impacted their decision to use academic support services. Both students and administrators overwhelmingly indicated the need for an increase in diversity. Administrators believed Black and Latinx students opt out of using services due to not knowing how to access the services, the extent of the services available, and the location of the services—this contradicts what the students said. The administrators had many stereotypes about Black and Latinx, first-generation students accessing cultural wealth instead of the formal support services available at the college, showing that they are not well informed about students of color on campus. Results of this study can inform administrators on the perceptions and experiences of students as well as Black and Latinx College Students and Academic Support Services how academic support services are offered and received so that more students in need of these services feel comfortable accessing them and succeed in completing their college degree.

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