Wesley B. Wilson, Ed.D.
This study described and explored the factors perceived as relevant to student retention by administrators at colleges and universities with significant Black student populations.The sample was 31 institutions affiliated with the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) that had Black student enrollment of 20% or more. The study sought to determine what factors administrators considered important to retention, and whether the retention factors considered most important by administrators of high retention colleges differed from those considered important at low retention colleges.
Administrators considered students' financial resources and academic abilities the most important of seven broad retention factors, and believed that institutions have only limited ability to affect retention. Rankings of six institutional characteristics and 35 grouped programs and practices, as well as frequencies of 23 programs and practices showed that institutions with higher retention rates (a) valued and used more retention programming than low retention institutions, (b) employed a more comprehensive array of strategies that addressed both students' academic and financial needs, (c) engaged students earlier, (d) used interpersonal delivery of advisement and academic support, (e) used more direct and intensive practices, and (f) focused on proactive, institution-driven approaches. The programs most used and valued by high retention institutions included advising and orientation before enrollment, and early warning/monitoring, tutoring, and remedial classes after enrollment. Recommendations are made for further research on advising interventions with particular focus on financial aid advising, the use of interpersonal delivery of services and support, early interaction with students and potential students, and factors relevant to retention of Black students.
For Dr. Wilson's complete dissertation, click here to order (UMI Publication #3612735).