Title page for ETD etd-08292008-085519


Type of Document Dissertation
Author Lutta, Joseph M.
Author's Email Address mulutta@yahoo.com, jlutta1@lsu.edu
URN etd-08292008-085519
Title Factors that Influence Traditional-Age College Students to Re-enroll in Their Third Year at a Research Extensive University in the Southern Region of the United States
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Human Resource Education Workforce Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Michael F. Burnett Committee Chair
Curtis Friedel Committee Member
Geraldine Johnson Committee Member
Satish Verma Committee Member
Charles Teddlie Dean's Representative
Keywords
  • higher education systems
  • enrollment management
  • college student retention
Date of Defense 2008-08-05
Availability unrestricted
Abstract
Student retention is of policy significance to higher education systems. In the United States, student retention is a major problem in higher education affecting students, universities, and society. Most of the research on student retention has focused on first-year students. Little is known about the retention of college students after their first year.

The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of selected demographic and academic characteristics on the decision of traditional-age, undergraduate students to re-enroll at a research-extensive university.

The population was defined as all traditional-age undergraduate students who entered the selected university during the fall 2005 semester. A total of 16 independent variables were collected from admissions and student aid databases and transferred to a computerized, recording form that served as the research instrument.

Using stepwise multiple discriminant analysis, the researcher identified a significant model that increased the researcherís ability to accurately explain the retention status of traditional-age, undergraduate students. The model correctly classified 86.7% of the cases, which was a 39.3% improvement over chance. The researcher recommended further studies to increase the percentage of correctly classified cases by integrating these variables with others to further explain retention status. Variables suggested were: a more detailed examination of the studentsí financial aid portfolio; studentsí GPA during their second and subsequent semesters of enrollment; studentsí involvement in other student activities and organizations; and survey and/or focus group data regarding the perceptions of enrollment management personnel.

The researcher further found that many non-retained students entered the study institution with very good high school academic records, contrary to previous studies. The researcher recommended further study to determine why students with strong academic credentials leave college before their third year. The researcher suggested the use of exit interviews of students leaving the university.

The researcher also found that a small portion of the retained students received one of the universityís five major academic scholarships. There is strong evidence to suggest that scholarships have a significant influence on student retention. The researcher recommended that the study institution seek more funding to increase the number of scholarships to award to incoming students.

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