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Chapter 2 further expands on when students begin to make their choices and how the family influences them from the start. This page intentionally left blank. CHAPTER 2 Turning Point: When Decisions are Made S ince the process of deciding to attend college is complex, in order to influence the process it is imperative to better understand when African American students begin to decide that higher education is an option or to reject it as an option. Yet, surprisingly, very little research appears to be conducted on narrowing the window on the age or grade when students are influenced in this important decision.

Directly, Orfield et al. (1984) stated it this way: “Family income is viewed as causing inequalities in educational access” (p. 30). , 1984, p. 25). While research is replete with information about the impact that the lack of financial aid has on college attendance (Cross & Astin, 1981; Nettles, 1988), what is increasingly clear is that there is a void in understanding how different cultural groups interpret or perceive the expectations of future earnings in making their postsecondary education plans.

A student attending a private school in Chicago stated, Whenever I think about college it’s like, my parents, they always wanted me to do better than they did; so . . I’ll probably be the first one in a long time that ever went to college so I would be something like a role model for my family. That’s why I think they want me to go to school—so I’ll be able to come out better than how they came out. ” The majority of African American students reside in families where there is interest in their participation in and benefitting from higher education.

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African Tales

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