Critical elements affecting retention of first-time, full-time freshmen at Tennessee State University

Joseph Perry, Tennessee State University

Abstract

Colleges and universities, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) such as Tennessee State University (TSU), place a significant emphasis on student retention. However, to be successful, these institutions need to examine critical elements affecting the retention of their first-time, full-time freshman students. The purpose of this study was to focus on critical elements affecting retention rates of first-time, full-time freshmen at Tennessee State University from 2004–2009. The cohort for this study was TSU’s 2004 fall class of first-time, full-time freshmen, which had a total population of 1,228. The study examined the following critical elements: (1) academically unprepared in terms of ACT and SAT scores, (2) remedial courses, (3) federally funded programs (specifically STEM programs), (4) majors, and (5) financial aid. The research questions in this study involved determining if there were significant differences in retention and the five critical elements. Data for this study was retrieved from TSU’s archival database, Banner Services, and Qualtrics Survey Software. A quantitative correlation design was used to determine relationships between retention and academically unprepared students in terms of their ACT and SAT scores, remedial courses, federally funded programs (specifically STEM programs), majors, and financial aid. The dependant variables in this study were retention rate and graduation rate, and the independent variables were gender, age, race, ACT and SAT scores, remedial courses, federally funded programs (specifically STEM programs), majors, and financial aid. Based upon the data analysis, this study found that there was not a significant difference as related to retention and academically unprepared students and majors. However, this study found that there was a significant difference as related to retention and remedial courses, STEM program participants, and financial aid. It was concluded that if HBCUs are going to remain competitive with other institutions in attracting and retaining African American and other minority students, they must focus on providing access to quality student services. Recommendations for improving retention include increasing faculty involvement with students, having a full time Director for Retention, and establishing an Office of Retention. ^

Subject Area

Education, Guidance and Counseling|Education, Teacher Training|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Joseph Perry, "Critical elements affecting retention of first-time, full-time freshmen at Tennessee State University" (2010). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3433418.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3433418

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