Research in Higher Education

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 209–232

What Difference Does a Major Make? The Influence of College Major Field on Persistence by African American and White Students

  • Edward P. St. John
  • Shouping Hu
  • Ada Simmons
  • Deborah Faye Carter
  • Jeff Weber
Article

DOI: 10.1023/B:RIHE.0000019587.46953.9d

Cite this article as:
St. John, E.P., Hu, S., Simmons, A. et al. Research in Higher Education (2004) 45: 209. doi:10.1023/B:RIHE.0000019587.46953.9d

Abstract

The results from this study indicate similarities and differences in the factors related to the persistence of White and African American students in their freshman and sophomore years in college. Using random samples of data from students enrolled in public institutions of higher education in a Midwestern state, OLS regression analyses indicated that African American sophomores in the high-demand major fields (e.g., Business, Health, and Engineering/Computer Science) were more likely to persist than were those in other major fields, but there were no statistically significant differences in persistence for African American freshmen in other fields. While major fields were not statistically significant for White sophomores, White freshmen in social sciences or undecided about their majors were less likely to persist. The effects of financial aid packages on persistence varied across race.

persistencepublic institutions of higher educationOLS regressionmajor fieldsfinancial aid

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edward P. St. John
    • 1
  • Shouping Hu
    • 2
  • Ada Simmons
    • 2
  • Deborah Faye Carter
    • 2
  • Jeff Weber
    • 2
  1. 1.Indiana Education Policy Center, Smith Center for Research, Suite 100Indiana UniversityBloomington
  2. 2.Indiana Education Policy Center, Smith Center for ResearchIndiana UniversityBloomington