As the community college student population becomes more diverse, the traditional student support program activities are limited in their effectiveness (Crawford, 1999). Rodriguez (1992) reports that although community colleges are often the first entry point into higher education for African American students, there does not seem to be equal success in the retention and persistence of this group. As officials in higher education seek to assess the success or failure of the community college in serving its diverse population, many questions may arise concerning the success of special programs in retaining minority students. Some researchers have wondered whether these special programs are positively impacting retention from semester to semester and/or persistence to graduation (Tinto & Russo, 1994). The purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which, if at all, there is a relationship between the student retention and persistence of African American students enrolled at LACC, with participation in EOPS. Additionally, the problem is to ascertain what specific EOPS activities or services are perceived by African American students participating in EOPS, to impact their persistence and retention. Using an existing survey questionnaire developed by Crawford (2001), the researcher collected data from 29 out of 78 (37%) participants, then later facilitated semi-structured interviews that were directly related to the participant's responses to the survey questions about student support services provided by EOPS. The results of the study reveal (a) African American EOPS students do not persist at a higher rate than African American non-EOPS students at Los Angeles City College past one academic year, and non-EOPS African American students persisted at a higher rate than their counterparts in EOPS by an average of 3.7% over a recent four-year period; (b) African American EOPS students at Los Angeles City College believe seven support services and program activities contributed to their persistence: book service, academic counseling, educational/academic planning, orientation, tutoring, grant money and personal counseling; (c) all of the services and activities of EOPS are of some benefit to them and (d) overall, they perceive the role of EOPS to be essential to their persistence.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Education; Community college; Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; African Americans -- Education (Higher)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Reilly, Elizabeth;