Date of Award

Spring 3-2-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy

Department

Education Leadership, Management and Policy

Advisor

Rong Chen, Ph.D

Committee Member

Fannie Gordon, Ph.D

Committee Member

Eunyoung Kim, Ph.D

Keywords

EOF, educational opportunity fund, state-funded, support services programs, retention, community college

Abstract

The EOF program is a state funded student support services program designed to provide access and financial support to disadvantaged students, and to improve student success as measured by student retention and graduation rates. This research examined the effects of EOF program and other factors on first semester retention in a community college. . Three models were developed: baseline model (whole group), and two sub group models (EOF and comparable non-EOF). Logistic regression analysis revealed that participation in EOF was positively related to student retention at the end of the first semester. Gender, race/ethnicity, college placement test (reading and math), and first semester GPA were also statistically significant in the baseline model and comparable non-EOF model. Additionally, results indicate that, compared to the comparable non EOF group, EOF students tended to have reduced gaps in retention by gender or race/ethnicity. The results of this study provide empirical support that institutional administrators and state policy makers should increase the amount of funding allocated for EOF, to ultimately increase the number of students who can participate in the program. Future research should focus on replicating this study at multiple community colleges and four-year institutions, and a program evaluation for the EOF program could offer additional insight into first semester student retention.

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