Award Date

August 2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Committee Member

Randall Boone

Second Committee Member

Xue Xing

Third Committee Member

Jane McCarthy

Fourth Committee Member

Margarita Huerta

Number of Pages

99

Abstract

As the contemporary labor market continues to require highly skilled workers, who in turn require higher education, more traditional and nontraditional students bolster their marketability by pursuing additional education, increasing their numbers at community colleges. Although college enrollment has generally improved in recent decades, graduation rates have decreased. A term often associated with students’ drive to continue working toward their degree completion is persistence.

The aim of this study was to identify academic factors and student characteristics that influence a part-time student’s persistence in completing an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree at a community college. Bean and Metzner’s model of nontraditional student attrition was applied in order to determine demographic and academic variables that may predict AAS degree completion. The population of this study comprised of 308 part-time students attending a large urban community college in the southwestern United States over a six-year period. These students were enrolled in an AAS degree program, which required the following courses: communication, English, and mathematics. Data were analyzed using Spearman’s rank-order correlations, descriptive statistics, and logistic regression. Of the selected independent variables, gender and cumulative grade point average were found to be significant predictors of AAS degree completion. Recommendations include the provision of adequate student resources that can address academic coping, time management, and study skills. Resources targeting male students are also recommended in order to positively influence their decision to persist; these include trained advisors, student interest groups, and learning communities that focus on increasing male engagement.

Keywords

associate of applied science; Bean and Metzner; community college; model of nontraditional student attrition; persistence; student characteristics

Disciplines

Education

Language

English

Available for download on Saturday, August 15, 2026


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