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Urban Education

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Universities and colleges -- United States -- Sociological aspects, African Americans -- Education (Higher), African American women -- Education (Higher), African American college students -- Social conditions, College choice


A serious imbalance exists in today’s African American undergraduate student population where women far outnumber men. Although at the macro level political, sociological, and economic forces frame this gender enrollment gap, scant research has explored micro level influences such as parents and parenting. This study uses a qualitative methodology and Hossler’s model of college choice to examine African American parent involvement during the search stage. The study found that the parents, who were mostly female, had higher aspirations for daughters, encouraged daughters to consider four-year colleges more often, but showed equal levels of tangible support for sons and daughters. The authors suggest that the boundaries of Hossler’s model necessarily shift when considering urban African American parents and that practitioners must have equally high academic aspirations for both African American male and female students.


This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed article that has been accepted for publication in Urban Education but has not been copy-edited. The publisher-authenticated version is available at

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