Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Joseph Stetar

Committee Member

Rong Chen

Committee Member

Martin Finkelstein


College attendance, College dropouts, College students, High school graduates, United States


Many more students begin college than complete their degrees. Retaining students to graduation has been the objective of many research studies; however, college students are changing. Changing demographics in the United States are creating changes in the college student population that could not have been foreseen years ago. In order inform policy in a changing climate, the research community must study the changes in the student body and what factors are important to the persistence of the new college student. This study will use Adelman's framework from The Toolbox Studies in conjunction with the Beginning Postsecondary Survey in order to identify the academic persistence factors for students who delay college entry. The juxtaposition of academic momentum in combination with a break in curriculum (students who delay) offers us a window on the importance of high school and college academics for this growing cohort of students. Academic persistence factors found to be common to all students were high school grades and earning 20 or more credits in the freshman year. Participating in study groups was found to be positively associated with persistence for students who delayed college attendance.