Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2024

Degree Type

Capstone - Open Access


Melissa Nemon


This research delves into the policies, procedures, and resources that higher institutions carry to best support their students of color. The support systems in this research centers on academic performance, cultural belonging, financial and mental health support of students of color. Many institutions concentrate on a general one-size-fits-all system that can be counterproductive because not all students are the same and their needs differ. This issue is important because students of color do not feel seen or heard at predominantly white institutions. This case study was created to find the weaknesses, strengths, and improvements on how higher institutions are best supporting students of color. The methodology that was used was interviewing two staff members each from Hampshire College and Merrimack College in Massachusetts through a questionnaire they responded to that was based on identity and cultural belonging. As a result, I found that students of color are best supported in higher education through academic advising, raising funds for campus programming, and cultivating cultural awareness at their higher institution. The conclusion is that higher education supports students of color by on campus programming but needs to develop stronger inclusivity tools for students of color to feel like they belong which is the step needed to move to get better results and higher retention.