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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Using Segmented Assimilation Theory to Enhance Conceptualization of College Participation


This paper examines the commonly used integration theory of student retention in higher education through the lens of an emerging theory of immigration used in the sociology of education. By discussing how segmented assimilation theory may apply to the study of college student persistence, this essay explores alternative ways of viewing student persistence that recognize the possibility of multiple pathways of college participation and of community membership. Accordingly, it suggests how integration theory can incorporate insights from more recent research on minority students’ experiences and newer theoretical developments in the study of student development and persistence.

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