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Black Student Transfer Experiences

Project Overview

Through this research with funding from ONCAT, The Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora at York University working towards deepening our understanding of where and how college-university fits into their post-secondary ambitions and the planning processes in which they engage to realize these ambitions. Additionally, the research will explore how these plans might account for college- university transfers that may occur. 

Program Objectives

  1. Gather insightful data from Black students participating on their educational interests and exploration of their selected pathway alongside key demographic and social information.  
  2. Explore the decision-making process of why Black students pick university over college or college over university.
  3. Identify the challenges and barriers experienced by Black students leading them to transfer from university to college. 
  4. Develop a profile to better understand Black student mobility and the student transfer experience from college to university and/or college to university.
  5. Inform policies and best practices on how to support the transfer of Black PSE students buy understanding the factors influencing these decisions.
  6. Enhance the capability of ONCAT to extend more targeted measures aligned to the needs of Black students in their educational transfer journey and.
  7. Mobilize existing research knowledge about the role of ONCAT in the Black student transfer journey. 

In short, through research we seek to examine the experiences and plans of Black students in the selection, navigation, and completion of their selected educational pathway. This research will report on the conditions which shape their interests, plans and decisions related to their education, occupation, and career ambitions.

Research Summary & Alignment to ONCATs Funding Stream

ONCAT Funding Stream Objective

To generate knowledge that can directly inform policies, pathways and institutional practices related to student mobility and transfer in Ontario. This includes practical applications for developing stronger cultures of mobility within postsecondary institutions and/or contributing to greater understanding of system wide issues that impact mobility. 

The study will provide insight into the nuances of the decision-making processes of students who have tended historically to select college over university as a post-secondary education path. 

The research will seek to explore and respond the following questions in an effort to better understand Black students transfer and mobility patterns: 

  1. What are the factors that influence the decision making of black students to pursue college or university? 
  2. What factors are influencing Black students’ decision to leave university to pursue a college degree or diploma program? 
  3. How does race factor into their decision-making process when exploring their educational, occupation and career path? 
  4. To what extent do peers, compared to parents, influence the educational decisions of black students? 
  5. To what extent do peers shape the ambitions, and accordingly the pursuit of these ambitions of Black students? 
  6. Do generational differences play a role – are there differences in first, second, third-plus in educational, occupational and career expectations, ambitions, and outcomes? 
  7. What role might some of these early decisions of Black students play in their mobility between college and university in the future? 

Data Gathering  

The research study will follow up on the initial survey responses. Focus group and interview discussions with these respondents – former students who have transferred from university to college or college to university – will be conducted. 

Project Research Team

Dr. Carl James

Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community & Diaspora, York University

Dr. Kisha McPherson

Assistant Professor, Toronto Metroplitan University

Michael Asres

York University, PhD Candidate

Sonia Lewis

York University, PhD Candidate

Anika Forde

York University, PhD Candidate