First Advisor

Mary K. Kinnick

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership


Educational Leadership and Policy




College attendance -- United States



Physical Description

4, xi, 350 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


Limited theoretical research exists regarding attrition of nontraditional (older, part-time, commuter) students on American college and university campuses today. Thus, when colleges or universities seek to improve programs specifically designed for such students, there is no broad research base on which to rely. The present study sought to determine if there were differences, especially ones the institution could do something about, between non-traditional students who left such a program and those who completed it. A conceptual model of non-traditional student attrition, developed by adult educators/researchers, Drs. John Bean and Barbara Metzner, provided the theoretical base for the study. Data were obtained from 80 questions on a survey mailed to 469 leavers and finishers in the Eastern Oregon State College External Degree Program. The questions represented four variable categories of the Bean/Metzner model: (1) background, (2) defining, (3) academic, and (4) environmental, and psychological (satisfaction) and academic outcomes. Of the 402 deliverable surveys, 82% were returned from 112 leavers and 204 finishers. Chi-square and t-tests of significance provided little differentiation between leavers and finishers on background and defining variables. For example, leavers and finishers were similar in age (most were 44-46 years); the majority were Caucasian, married, and had children; lived in Oregon communities of less than 50,000 population within 60 miles of post-secondary institution (not necessarily Eastern Oregon State College); had performed well (3.00-3.49 GPA) in high school; and were employed outside the home at least 30 hours a week. Differences in the leavers and finishers' educational goals (a background variable) and the grade level at which they entered the Program (a defining variable) were statistically significant at p


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


If you are the rightful copyright holder of this dissertation or thesis and wish to have it removed from the Open Access Collection, please submit a request to and include clear identification of the work, preferably with URL

Persistent Identifier