Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Irizarry, Yasmiyn

Committee Member

Cossman, Jeralynn S.

Committee Member

Peterson, Lindsey

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


The goal of this paper is to understand the emergence of racial disparities in college student departure trajectories during the first year of college. Race, social class background, precollege academic preparation, expectations, integration into the university, and method of tuition payment are all variables used to explain three types of student departures. During the first year, students either remained at their initial institution, transferred horizontally, reverse transferred, or dropped out. The bivariate results from the multinomial logistic regression demonstrate that Black students have nearly twice the odds of dropping out compared to White and Asian students. This racial disparity is fully explained after controlling for differences in academic preparation. In fact, once academic preparation was accounted for, Black and Hispanic students had lower odds of dropping out. The results of this study demonstrate the importance of social context when explaining retention outcomes in higher education.