Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Rong Chen, Ph.D

Committee Member

Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D

Committee Member

Elaine Walker, Ph.D

Committee Member

Dorothy Minkus-McKenna, Ph.D


Student Retention at Two-Year Colleges, Persistence rates at two-year community and for-profit colleges, Nontraditional students at two year colleges.


This study intends to explore factors influencing first-year student persistence at two-year community, and for-profit institutions. Much of the existing retention literature on post-secondary education has mostly centered around traditional four-year institutions, thus this study remedies the limitations with prior literature and provides insight into how to help two-year college officials better understand their students, their mission, and persistence measures at their colleges. Tinto’s Longitudinal Model of academic and social integration was systematically combined with Bean and Metzner’s retention model on non-traditional students to guide this study. A two-stage procedure consisting of descriptive analysis, and regression analysis was performed on all factors to determine their significance in predicting successful retention at the end of the first college year. Students attending two-year institutions are different from traditional students in four-year institutions, thus the results of the study are vital for improving the retention efforts and systems at two-year institutions.