Comparison of Retention Rates Among America's 2-Year Institutions of Higher Education

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Edu and Learning Technology

Date of Award

Spring 2012


The purpose of the study was first to calculate the full-time and part-time retention rates for each category of 2-year institution and to examine the differences, if they existed, between and among the three types of colleges. Secondly, the study explored the differences in the full-time and part-time retention rates of first-time students within each category of 2-year institution. This study utilized national data extracted from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) was utilized to obtain descriptive statistics and to conduct multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to examine differences between and among the various institutional retention rates by institutional classification. The statistical testing incorporated a 0.05 level of significance. Post hoc analysis was conducted where required. Once the collection of statistical data was complete, the findings were validated by interviews with enrollment management officers at selected institutions. Participating institutions were strategically chosen from those included in the original database to provide rich data to explain the findings of the quantitative analysis. Each institution represented one of the three categories of 2-year colleges included in the study. Responses were coded and reported in Chapter 4 of the study. The study indicated that first-time, full-time students were more easily retained in private 2-year institutions, whether proprietary or independent, than were first-time, full-time students in public institutions. Furthermore, full-time students had higher retention rates in all sectors of 2-year institutions than did part-time students. The study implied that student retention was affected by the characteristics of a small institution, the selectivity of the institution, and the focus of the students. The study further addressed the effects of remediation and faculty interaction on retention. Several recommendations were made for further study.


Rusty Waller

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Technology