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Selected correlates of student persistence and institutional factors in for -profit art and design colleges

Tom Dyer, Johnson & Wales University


The relation of annual student persistence and persistence change to retention practice in a group of for-profit art and design colleges ( N = 25) owned by a publicly traded corporation was examined in this study. Publicly traded education corporations first appeared in 1990 and have proliferated in the intervening years. These colleges serve about 6% of the higher education market. To date there has been little study of the student retention practices of these colleges. This study was grounded in the student attrition theory of Astin (1975), Tinto (1987), and Braxton (2001), as well as in the practical application of theory and industry best practices suggested by educators such as Noel and Levitz (2000). The study employed a primarily quantitative design. Analysis was performed on data from the corporation's internal documents to determine annual persistence and persistence change for each college. Demographic data were collected for each college's population on gender, race, and the number of associate's and bachelor's students. Analysis of these data found race and gender had the greatest correlation to persistence and persistence change. A questionnaire was distributed to each college to determine the level of implementation of 19 student success practices adopted by the system. The data from each questionnaire item were correlated with annual persistence and persistence change. The three items with the highest correlation, along with the race and gender data, were entered into two stepwise multiple regression equations. Race was found to be significant at the p < .05 level for student persistence (p = .02) and persistence change (p = .01), while gender was significant for persistence change (p = .013). Race and gender accounted for 45.4% of variance for persistence change, while race was found to account for 46.0% of variance for annual persistence. No other variable was found to be statistically significant. A secondary analysis of these colleges found their persistence practices in the areas of student success plans, faculty development, general student initiatives, and advanced students initiatives to be similar to those suggested for not-for-profit colleges. The study makes eight recommendations for improving persistence practices at this type of institution.

Subject Area

Higher education|Art education

Recommended Citation

Dyer, Tom, "Selected correlates of student persistence and institutional factors in for -profit art and design colleges" (2006). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3234445.