Murray State Theses and Dissertations


This quantitative study examines the graduation rates for Black students when universities and student success organizations work together. Enrollment of Black/African American students at Illinois colleges and universities declined by 34% between 2013 and 2019, exceeding the enrollment drop for White students of 25.9%, according to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. Latino students have seen an enrollment gain of 8% for the same period. Historically, educators and organizations have invested significant work to encourage Black students to enroll in college; however, there has not been enough done to help students graduate. Universities have taken steps to help students succeed by providing academic advising services, tutoring programs, career development resources, writing centers, and so on. Despite the services offered, Black students continue to have the lowest graduation rate in comparison to White and Latino students. Student-centered nonprofit organizations outside of colleges and universities have created programs to support Black students’ college completion. This study explores university partnerships with organizations dedicated to supporting Black students, and whether students experience greater success than with only university-provided services. This study analyzes the partnerships between three student success organizations and four Illinois public universities. The conclusion of this research aims to provide P-20 education leaders and nonprofit directors with a framework for university-community partnerships that can better support Black students.

Year manuscript completed


Year degree awarded


Author's Keywords

College Readiness, Black student success, equity

Degree Awarded

Doctor of Education


Educational Studies, Leadership and Counseling


College of Education & Human Services

Dissertation Committee Chair

Teresa Clark

Committee Member

Sean Simons

Committee Member

Landon Clark

Committee Member

Shykira Richards

Document Type

Dissertation - Murray State Access only