First Advisor

Mary K. Kinnick

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

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


Educational Leadership and Policy




Community college students, Persistence, College dropouts



Physical Description

2, vii, 137 leaves: ill. 28 cm.


The purpose of this study was to identify those retention-associated variables which best account for persistence and nonpersistence among new full-time students in a community college. The major research question for the study was: Within a community college, what differentiates new full-time students who leave and those who stay? Do factors identified in previous studies which helped to explain persistence and nonpersistence in four-year colleges and universities and those colleges that serve large numbers of residential students hold the same power for explaining this phenomenon in community colleges? Of the 607 new full-time students who enrolled Fall Term, 1987, 552 were sent questionnaires at the end of the fourth week of Fall Term, 1987. Data within the persister and nonpersister groups were examined using chi-square and ANOVA. Discriminant analysis was used to study simultaneously the differences between persisters and nonpersisters with respect to several variables. The results of the study found statistically significant differences between persistence and nonpersistence and several community college students' background and environmental characteristics, and social and academic integration into a community college. This study also found among new full-time students who attend a community college, institutional and goal commitment contributed the most to group discrimination between persisters and nonpersisters. Future research of persisters and nonpersisters in community colleges was recommended. Implications for higher education practices was also suggested.


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