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ERIC Number: ED554690
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 177
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3030-4710-7
Exploring Retention from Perceptions of Nontraditional Students Enrolled in Community College
Reed, Tara Camille
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Northcentral University
Community colleges serve a vital role within the American education system and as the number of nontraditional students increase, further research is warranted in understanding how these particular students can be retained. Nontraditional student enrollment is highest at community colleges; however, they have the lowest rates in being retained. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to explore the perceptions of nontraditional community college students regarding how they have been able to maintain continued enrollment despite barriers and risks factors at an extra-large, urban multi-campus community college located in North Texas. Twelve moderately to highly nontraditional students were purposefully selected and required to have maintained consecutive enrollment beyond their first year at the community college during this study. The theoretical framework was based on Bean and Metzner's conceptual model of nontraditional undergraduate student attrition, which explored how factors affected student retention. The factors included defining and background, academic, environmental, psychological outcomes, and social integration. Each factor was seen as having a negative or positive reaction in connection to the other factors and varied in the degree of its effect. The phenomenological method was selected for the study because it allowed the researcher to identify the essence of human experiences about the phenomenon as described by participants in the study. Four research questions served as the interview guide along with additional probing questions to collect data during face-to-face interviews. Creswell's simplified Moustakas' version of Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen approach was used to analyze data, in which 13 themes emerged from the findings. Support, encouragement, motivation, and being valued were influential in the nontraditional students' decision to remain at the community college; along with lack of support, negative interaction on campus, and balancing difficulty were influential in the decision to drop out. The nontraditional students listed reasons they remained enrolled and how they remained at the community college despite facing challenges and barriers. The three most important factors believed to be influential included self-motivation, on campus support developed for nontraditional students, and family encouragement. Additional research is warranted in understanding the needs of nontraditional students locally, regionally, and nationally in order to increase retention rates in the community college. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Texas