Research in Higher Education

, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 127–145 | Cite as

Student Involvement in Ethnic Student Organizations: Examining Civic Outcomes 6 Years After Graduation

  • Nicholas A. Bowman
  • Julie J. Park
  • Nida Denson


Few college experiences elicit as much controversy as racial/ethnic student organizations. Critics argue that these student groups promote racial division and segregation, whereas supporters counter these claims and suggest instead that they facilitate college adjustment, learning, and growth. Clearly, some students are quite predisposed to participate (or not participate) in these organizations, which can lead to significant challenges when trying to determine the impact of this form of engagement. The present study used multilevel propensity score matching analyses to explore the relationships between racial/ethnic student organizations and post-college civic outcomes within a 10-year longitudinal sample of 8,634 alumni from 229 institutions. The results indicate that participation is significantly and positively associated with numerous civic behaviors and attitudes 6 years after graduation. Moreover, these findings are similar regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, or institution.


Racial/ethnic student organization Post-college outcomes Civic engagement Propensity score matching College students 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicholas A. Bowman
    • 1
  • Julie J. Park
    • 2
  • Nida Denson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Higher Education and Student AffairsBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA
  2. 2.University of MarylandCollege ParkUSA
  3. 3.University of Western SydneySydneyAustralia

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