Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award


Document Type



Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Kyeonghee Jang

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Stephanie Hamm

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Elizabeth Brown


While enrollment for students of color has increased by nearly 15% over the past 20 years, universities have struggled to retain and graduate students of color in comparison to their White peers, including Christian universities. Looking to foster success for all students, higher education has sought to better understand the factors that impact student retention and graduation, particularly for students of color. Thriving has been shown as an effective metric for understanding the student experience through a more holistic framework as it pertains to the student success. The purpose of this study is to explore the concept of thriving as success and its impact on students of color in order to identify key factors in the student’s experiences, analyzing how they may differ across racial identifiers as they pertain to thriving. This exploratory study utilizes a cross-sectional survey of a convenience sample of 1111 undergraduate students at a private faith-based institution in Texas. The researcher discovered there were higher means of reported success for White students in comparison to students of color, and that the significant factors that contributed to student success are being White, female, seeking a graduate degree, and spirituality. For students of color these factors were spirituality and classification. Though limitations apply, this study reveals crucial insight on the student experience for students of color. It is recommended that universities within higher education seek to promote and create more culturally engaging and responsive learning environments for their students of color to succeed.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Included in

Social Work Commons



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