Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Donald Good

Committee Members

James Lampley, Richard Rhoda


The purpose of this non-experimental, quantitative correlational study was to investigate whether any significant relationships existed between one-way student commute distance and retention for first-time, community college freshmen. Additional student success metrics such as three-year graduation rates, enrollment status, credit hours attempted and completed, and GPA were also analyzed for any possible relationship with commute distance.

Archival student data were collected from the participating institution, a public community college in the southeastern United States with four separate instructional site locations. This study followed the incoming class of 2016, entering in the fall semester, through the end of their third year, completing in Spring 2019. The sample included all first-time freshmen at the institution who were taking all their classes in-person (N = 1,320). Students’ residential ZIP codes and location of classroom instruction were collected to calculate the one-way commute distance in miles.

Chi-square test of independence, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and a Pearson correlation coefficient were utilized to analyze the research questions for significant relationships among the study’s variables. Results indicated that commute distance for first-time community college freshmen does not have a significant relationship with freshman to sophomore retention, overall GPA, or three-year graduation outcome. This study identified a significant, positive relationship between commute distance and credits attempted and credits completed during the first semester of enrollment. Student ethnicity was also found to have a significant relationship with commute distance. Minority students were found to be less likely to commute longer distance compared to their peers. Students attending classes at the institution’s main campus instructional site were found to be significantly more likely to graduate in three years compared to those attending classes at satellite locations, regardless of commute distance.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.