Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 233 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Elizabeth Popp Berman

Committee Members

Joanna Dreby, Kate Averett


College students, Educational mobility, Academic achievement, Multicultural education, Discrimination in education

Subject Categories



The goal of this dissertation is to uncover the black box that currently envelops the student experience at New & Mobility-Granting Universities, which are defined by their ability to enroll and graduate students from traditionally underrepresented racial/ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds at a higher-than-average rate. More specifically, I use data from 65 student interviews at State U, which is a mid-sized public university, in order to show how opportunity is granted to some students through their common points of interaction with the institution—in the classroom, with advisors, within high-impact programs, and in the workplace. At the same time, I show that Mobility-Granting, New Universities like State U are constrained by their very label. This results in an internally stratified environment, where some students have the institutional resources and connections needed to effectively navigate State U, while others rely on individual networks, or traverse it independently. Ultimately, I argue that in order to elevate and extend the impact of New and Mobility-Granting Institutions, we must acknowledge and rectify the inherent inequalities that exist within student experiences.

Included in

Sociology Commons