Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Minority participation in higher education has been an issue of major concern and controversy over the last forty years. President Harry Truman, in 1946, established the first federal commission designed to study the societal functions of higher education. The President's Commission on Higher Education (1947) was also instructed to delineate the responsibility of the federal government as it applied to postsecondary educational opportunities. The Commission recommended that 50 percent of all high school graduates obtain a two-year college education. This recommendation has been expanded to provide universal access to all students who might seek, or benefit from, postsecondary education. The purpose of this study was to review the literature relevant to the factors influencing minority access to, and full participation in, the American higher educational system. This review of literature will begin with an historical overview of the federal government's role in higher education as it relates to equal educational opportunity. The discussion of minority enrollment trends will provide evidence that individuals from various cultural and ethnic backgrounds are underrepresented in postsecondary institutions. This review will then conclude with an examination of the academic, social, and cultural issues that directly affect the minority student's access to, and full participation in, American higher education.

Year of Submission



Department of Educational Administration and Counseling

First Advisor

Thomas W. Hansmeier


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