The purpose of this study was to investigate which of the 7 motivational factors measured in the Student Motivations for Attending University-Revised (SMAU) survey developed by Phinney, Dennis, and Osorio (2006)—career/personal, humanitarian, prove worth, default, expectation, encouragement, and help family—if any, contribute to African-American male and Latino male community college completion/graduation at a 2-year community college in Southern California and transfer to 4-year universities. This study employed a survey design and the target population included MOC that were enrolled in a community college in Southern California. This study used a quantitative, correlational method to measure men of color (MOC) students’ perceptions of persistence, academic success, and motivational factors related to enrollment and persistence at a community college in Southern California. The participants were selected through non-probability sampling in a non-controlled setting utilizing the target population from a community college in the South Bay area of Southern California. The population of African-American and Latino males is steadily rising, thus increasing the prevalence of these 2 ethnic groups at 2-year community colleges. An extensive literature review demonstrated that both male African- American and Latino community college students are the most prominent groups by ethnicity and gender, yet both groups are the least likely to graduate and transfer to 4-year universities. After reviewing the literature regarding MOC in postsecondary education and considering the findings from this study, the foremost leading motivational factor for male African-American and Latino community college students to enroll and persist in college is their desire and priority to help improve the condition of their family’s financial status. The second highest rated motivational factor for MOC to enroll and persist in community college is based on their career/personal goals and pursuits. The least motivational factor promoting academic success for these 2 male racial/ethnic groups included feeling pressured by friends and feelings that they had no other alternatives.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; Hispanic American men -- Students -- Case studies; African American Men -- Students -- Case studies; Motivation in adult education -- Case studies; Community college students

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Green, Joseph D.