Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

James Lampley

Committee Members

Donald Good, Hal Knight


The purpose of this non-experimental, correlational, quantitative study was to provide an

in-depth understanding of the relationship between pre-matriculation variables on retention of first-year, full-time students from fall-to-fall semesters at three small, private, liberal arts institutions in the Southeast United States. The findings will help to determine the significance of the relationships between retention and pre-matriculation variables on first-year, full-time students who entered each institutions the fall 2017 and fall 2018 semesters.

Archival data at the participating institutions were used to test the significance of the relationships between retention rates and pre-matriculation variables (standardized test scores, high school GPAs, gender, first-generation status, and financial aid status). The sample for this study included approximately 3,612 first-year, full-time students who entered the three participating universities for the fall semesters of 2017 and 2018. Independent samples t-tests or two-way contingency tables using crosstabs were used to evaluate each of the respective research questions. Findings from this study demonstrated student demographic variables financial aid status (Pell Grant eligibility), gender, and first-generation status had a significant relationship to retention for Institutions 2 and 3; students who were not eligible for financial aid were retained at higher percentage rate than students who were eligible for financial aid; students who were first-generation students were retained at lower percentage rate than students who were continuing-generation students; and self- identified female students were retained at a higher percentage rate those students who were self-identified as males at Institution 1.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.