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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Kay L. Keck
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: Community College Retention: The Role of Late Registration Policies
Dr. Sue Poppnik, Chair
Dr. Louann Bierlein-Palmer
Dr. Alice M. Jacobs
Date: Thursday, June 21, 2007 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
3208 Sangren Hall
Issues of retention and student persistence have been of concern for institutions of higher education for decades. The retention of community college students is greatly affected by open admissions policies and practices designed to address the needs of a student population which greatly varies by academic and social preparation as well as in their understanding of the purpose, value, and need for a college education.
Of particular interest to researchers in the community college realm are registration policies which are theoretically designed to assist students in the short term which may inadvertently hinder their success in the long term. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between policies intended to remove barriers to enrollment and student persistence at an open admissions institution. Specifically, the study explored the policy of late enrollment at community colleges, the effects of the policy on the students’ academic persistence and success, and how students experienced the phenomenon. A new-found area of research emphasized was an examination of the course-specific side of late registration.
The mixed-research design for this study was planned sequentially to first quantitatively examine the relationship between late enrollment policies and student persistence and second to qualitatively explore the experience and perceptions of students in regard to late enrollment; in a final analysis the qualitative results were used to further explain the quantitative findings.
The study provided for a clearer understanding of the impact of late registration on community college retention and student persistence. The most significant findings of this study were: (1) Students who registered and began a course on time had a greater likelihood to successfully complete the course. The consequences students associated with late registration included missing critical first class day information and feeling rushed and unprepared to begin the class; (2) A majority of late registrants were successful in the late registered course, and late registrants were satisfied with their performance. Students perceived their individual backgrounds, strengths, academic abilities, and determination to complete a course as important in their success in the course; (3) The course subject area had a significant impact on the successful completion of the late registered course, and students expressed their reluctance to late register into a course unless they had completed coursework or had experiential learning in the course subject area. Students would avoid registering late into a course delivered in an online format.