Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

James Lampley

Committee Members

John Boyd, Donald Good


The purpose of this non-experimental, quantitative, comparative study was to determine whether there were significant differences in fall-to-fall retention and graduation rates, between first-time, full-time students who engaged in at least one early post-secondary opportunity (EPSO) while in high school and those who did not. Archival data for this study were collected from the participating community college between 2015 and 2018. The sample for this study included 2,911 students enrolled in academic programs at the community college and included retention rates and graduation rates for students who participated in EPSOs (N = 622) and those who did not participate in EPSOs (N = 2289). Other data collected for each participant included: (a) socio-economic status as determined by Pell eligibility, (b) at-risk status as determined by an ACT score of 17 or below, and (c) gender. Chi-square tests using a two-way contingency table with cross tabs or independent sample t-tests were used to evaluate each of the research questions. The findings demonstrated that participation in EPSOs resulted in increased retention and graduation rates. Findings from this study may contribute to the existing body of knowledge as to whether high school participation in EPSOs is associated with improved retention and graduation rates at community colleges.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.