Dumay, Harry E. “The Paradox of High Satisfaction and Low Choice”. PhD, Boston College, 2009. http://hdl.handle.net/2345/726.
The literature on Latin American higher education indicates the existence of a relationship between socio-economic status and college enrollment. One of the hypotheses of this study was that in Haiti, socio-economic status is related not only to college access but also to students' ability to enter their preferred field of study. As a result, students from higher socio-economic status were expected to report higher levels of satisfaction with their academic situation. In this quantitative survey study, an instrument was developed and administered to 742 college students in 5 different Haitian institutions in order to determine whether there exists this hypothesized relationship between students' socio-economic status and their satisfaction with their academic situation. Data analysis revealed a weak, negative relationship between students' socio-economic status and their satisfaction with their academic situation. No significant relationship could be established between socio-economic status and access to a preferred field of study, across all students. Instead the study found what seems to be a paradox: although a majority of students were not able to access their desired field of study, they showed a high level of satisfaction with their academic situation. This paradox is explained by the importance of intrinsic factors as well as job prospect in predicting students' satisfaction. Other findings include (a) a low level of participation for women in Haitian higher education, (b) a lower level of satisfaction for Haitian female science, engineering, and technology students, and (c) little differentiation in academic preparation between science, engineering, and technology students and the rest of the sample. Based on the research findings, the study concludes with policy recommendations to help Haitian higher education achieve its economic development mission.