Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.

Department (Legacy)

Department of Leadership, Foundations, and Human Resource Education

Committee Chair

Lasky, Susan Gail

Author's Keywords

Community college; Professional development; Student retention; Student attrition


College dropouts--Indiana; Educational attainment--Indiana; College freshmen--Indiana; Community college students--Indiana


The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine if student background variables (age, gender, race, academic preparation); student status (part/full-time student), and student circumstances (commuting distance, independent/dependent financial student status) could predict fall-to-spring attrition (2006-2007) in a sample of 542 first-time, first-semester students at a community college in Southern Indiana. This study also included the results from an exit survey administered in the spring semester by the college. The sample consisted of 403 students who persisted to the next semester, and 121 students who did not persist to the next semester. Demographic variables, COMP ASS math and reading scores, independent/dependent student status, fulltime/ part-time student status, and driving distances were collected from the sample population. Descriptive statistics were used to identify differences between persisters and non-persisters. Hierarchical logistic regression was used to determine which study variables best predicted second semester student attrition. The exit survey analysis was used to provide anecdotal snapshots of student attrition. The students who persisted to the second semester were slightly older and had a higher percentage of males. The students who did not persist to the second semester had higher percentages of females and higher percentages of minority students and students with entrance scores requiring remedial classes before taking program-specific classes. Results of the hierarchical logistic regression indicated the COMPASS reading score variable and the full-and part-time student status variable were statistically significant predictors of attrition.