Date of Award

1998

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Higher Education Administration PhD

First Advisor

Lyndon G. Furst

Second Advisor

Bernard M. Lall

Third Advisor

Robert C. Schwab

Abstract

Problem. Universities are assessing which institutional efforts are most directly impacting student attrition. This study identified important institutional factors impacting student attrition/retention using university personnel. It also measured personnel perception of how satisfactorily addressed were institutional factors impacting student persistence.

Methods. A quantitative survey methodology was used, and a survey instrument was developed and validated in the study. Tinto’s 1987 model of Student Departure and the Melendez model o f Transaction Satisfaction toward Student Persistence were used to guide the development of the instalment. The Melendez model was formulated as a rival hypothesis and an alternative tool for the study of student attrition. It posited that institutional efforts toward students’ academic and personal satisfaction have a direct impact on student persistence. The new model was used to interpret the results. The subjects were administrators, faculty, and professional staff and clerical/technical staff from a Midwestern public university The data were analyzed using factor and reliability analyses, analysis of variance, l-tests, multivariate and discriminant analyses.

Results. Overall, the university personnel perceived the instrument items as important institutional factors impacting student retention. Conversely, they generally did not perceive the university’s efforts as highly satisfactorily address factors. The seven most important factors impacting student retention are academic advising, financial aid services, students’ commitment to their education, instructor’s effectiveness, students’ attitude toward education, administrators/faculty/staff caring about students’ progress, and students’ class attendance. The four most satisfactorily addressed institutional factors impacting student persistence were library services, registration services, campus safety and security services, and instructor effectiveness.

Conclusions. Based on this study (1) the new instrument yielded adequate statistical results, (2) in general, university personnel perceived institutional factors impacting student retention as important and were generally not highly satisfied with the university’s efforts in addressing factors impacting student retention, (3) the data were adequately interpreted by the Melendez model, and (4) a similar study should be conducted to refine the instrument and to examine student retention from the perspective a customer/service transactional satisfaction relationship using both students and university personnel.

Subject Area

College dropouts--Prevention.

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