Study Contends That a White Roommate Helps African-American College Students Achieve Higher Grades

A study published in the October 2008 issue of the journal Group Processes and Intergroup Relations found that African-American college students do better academically when they have a white roommate than when they are paired with another African American.

The study said that one in every six pairings of black and white roommates failed during the first semester on campus resulting in one student’s moving out. But black students who remained with their white roommate on average had a 0.3 point increase in their grade point average compared to their African-American peers who had a black roommate.

Natalie J. Shook, the lead author of the study and currently an assistant professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, concluded that African-American students at predominantly white universities may become better adjusted to college life if they can room with a student who may be better able to help them cope with an unfamiliar environment.