Perceived barriers to achievement and retention of undergraduate students at a private, church affiliated university

Peggy A Carpenter, Tennessee State University

Abstract

The college years are a definitive time of transition and development for all students. Students enter college with great anticipation and expectations of both themselves and the institution. Meeting these expectations and retaining students to degree attainment are significant issues for colleges and universities. The purpose of this descriptive study was to (1) identify which perceived situational, institutional, and dispositional barriers affect the achievement and retention of college students; and (2) examine how those perceptions differ for students at different levels of the college experience. This study’s respondents were undergraduate students enrolled in traditional academic programs at Trevecca Nazarene University during the fall 2007 semester. The research design involved a descriptive survey adapted from the Carp, Peterson, and Roelfs (1972) Educational Testing Service survey and the Cross (1981) classification of the 24 barriers used in that study. The research questionnaire consisted of three Likert scales, one identifying 14 items classified as situational barriers, one consisting of 15 items classified as institutional barriers, and one listing 16 items classified as dispositional barriers. The data was analyzed using descriptive statistics and Factorial ANOVA. Results indicated that cost of tuition was the situational barrier that caused the biggest problem for students. Lack of course availability was identified as the greatest institutional barrier. Stress was the greatest dispositional barrier for respondents. Findings also indicated a statistically significant difference in perceived institutional barriers based on classification and in dispositional barriers based on gender. A correlation conducted to examine the impact of situational, institutional, and dispositional barriers on students’ grade point average found that situational barriers were the only type of barriers to make a statistically significant impact. A correlation conducted to examine the relationship between students’ intention to return to the same institution the following semester and their intent to graduate from that institution found that situational, institutional, and dispositional barriers all significantly affected students’ decision. A multiple linear regression used to determine which type of barrier had the greatest influence on the intent to return and intent to graduate found that institutional barriers had the most significant effect on students’ decision. ^

Subject Area

Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Peggy A Carpenter, "Perceived barriers to achievement and retention of undergraduate students at a private, church affiliated university" (2008). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3307987.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3307987

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