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Student retention and success at a community college in the Northeast

Alfred John Craig, Johnson & Wales University


Craig, Alfred John (2005). Student Retention and Success at a Community College in the Northeast. One mission of public community colleges is to provide access to higher education to all who wish to attend. Such open enrollment policies often lead to low retention and low student success rates, which in turn represent lost revenue to institutions, as well as a loss of time, effort, and money on the part of the students. Due to diverse student bodies and differing institutional missions, each institution needs to conduct its own retention research in order to inform changes in policy and practice that can enhance student retention and success. A combined quantitative and qualitative research methodology was employed to study student retention and success at a public community college in the Northeast. For the quantitative aspects of the study a database that followed a cohort of first-time, full-time students (N = 1,729) through 11 semesters (fall 1998 through fall 2003) was analyzed using descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, and logistic regression analysis. Qualitative results were obtained through interviews with administrators from programs having high student success rates and from programs having low student success rates. Quantitative indicators that were found to be related to student success were college grade point average, time interval between high school graduation and community college enrollment, attempted but unearned credits, initial program of enrollment, and continuing full-time enrollment. Qualitative results indicated that poor academic preparation and lack of commitment to goal completion were negatively related to student success. Based on the findings, recommendations were made that included early academic assessments and identification of students, particularly those who change from full-time to part-time enrollment status, as a way to identify at-risk students that might benefit from institutional interventions.

Subject Area

Higher education|Community colleges

Recommended Citation

Craig, Alfred John, "Student retention and success at a community college in the Northeast" (2005). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3177196.