Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) were established with the main objective of identifying and empowering people of African descent. Over the years, these institutions have grown, enrolling 16% of Black high school graduates and during graduation, almost 20% of African-American graduates. Using a qualitative study design, the main goal of this study was to identify the effectiveness of HBCUs’ ability to serve the interests and needs of African-American students who chose to attend and graduate from HBCUs as undergraduate students then attend and graduate from graduate schools at predominantly White institutions (PWIs.) This study inquired about focusing on the factors influencing how undergraduate students make decisions on which college to attend, what factors influence their career selection, and the impact the university experience has on future careers and overall college experience. Data was gathered from African-American HBCU graduates who then attended and graduated from PWIs in California. Interviews and online surveys were conducted with participants to collect in-depth responses regarding their experiences, views, beliefs, and motivations. The sample comprised 100 respondents out of an original 200 who were selected. The study showed that many participants attended their chosen colleges because they preferred to associate with people who shared origins like their own. Family and friends were found to be influential in college selection and educational background influenced the types of careers study participants pursued after graduation from college. Implications for future research are discussed.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration, and policy; African American universities and colleges; African American graduate students -- California

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Barner, Robert R.;