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Factors Impacting Persistence for African-American and Latino Community College Students

Dissertation
Author: Amy Radovcic
Abstract:
Persistence of African-American and Latino community college students has lagged behind other ethnic groups. The longitudinal study covered three years that included four semesters. Data from aggregated records of a community college in Southern California were analyzed to gain better understanding of factors that could explain varying rates of persistence. The data represented 609 African-American and Latino community college students who enrolled for the first-time in the fall 2006 semester. In addition to descriptive analysis, the data were subjected to t-tests, Pearson correlation, and multiple regression. These findings revealed that access to a college counselor (p < .01) and offers of financial aid assistance (p < .01) and services from EOPS (p < .05) significantly and positively influenced persistence. The impact of age and SES differed by ethnicity. Older African-American students (p < .01) and younger Latino students (p < .01) were more likely to persist. Socioeconomic status (p < .01) was found to significantly influence persistence for African-American students. SES was not found to be significant in Latino community college student persistence. Age, gender, and completing a personal development course did not significantly influence African-American or Latino community college student persistence. The findings can help educators understand African-American and Latino community college student persistence. Community college counselors can facilitate persistence and can have the greatest impact when their contact with students occurs early in the college experience. Further, high schools and community colleges need to work together to disperse information and encourage students to plan for their college education.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.......................................................................................... iii

DEDICATION................................................................................................................v

LIST OF TABLES....................................................................................................... vii

ABSTRACT............................................................................................................... viii

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION................................................................................. 1 Background of the Problem.............................................................................................. 1 Statement of the Problem.................................................................................................. 7 Purpose of the Study......................................................................................................... 9 Significance of the Study..................................................................................................11 Organization of the Dissertation.......................................................................................13 Theoretical Framework.....................................................................................................14 Research Questions...........................................................................................................17 Definition of Terms...........................................................................................................17 Limitations, Delimitations, Assumptions.........................................................................20

CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE....................................................21 Introduction and Overview...............................................................................................21 History of the Community College...................................................................................21 Conceptual Framework.....................................................................................................25 Personal Development Course..........................................................................................27 Meeting with an Academic Counselor..............................................................................28 Gender...............................................................................................................................31 Financial Aid.....................................................................................................................32 Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS).....................................................38 Age....................................................................................................................................39 Socioeconomic Status (SES).............................................................................................41 Academic Self-Concept....................................................................................................44 Self-Efficacy.....................................................................................................................45 Social Integration..............................................................................................................49

CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY...............................................................................55 Introduction.......................................................................................................................55 Research Questions and Hypotheses................................................................................55 Methodology.....................................................................................................................57 Validity and Reliability.....................................................................................................58 Research Population..........................................................................................................58 Data Collection and Methods............................................................................................60

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Sampling Method..............................................................................................................60 Sample Size.......................................................................................................................61 Instrumentation.................................................................................................................61 Data Analysis....................................................................................................................61

CHAPTER 4: FINDINGS............................................................................................ 63 Introduction...................................................................................................................... 63 Descriptive Information for All Students Results for African-American Community College Students......................................... 66 Descriptive information.......................................................................................... 66 Pearson’s correlation coefficients........................................................................... 67 Hypothesis testing................................................................................................... 67 Results for Latino Community College Students............................................................ 70 Descriptive information.......................................................................................... 70 Pearson’s correlation coefficients........................................................................... 71 Hypothesis testing................................................................................................... 71 Multiple Regression Analyses......................................................................................... 74 Summary.......................................................................................................................... 76

CHAPTER 5: DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS.............................................. 78 Introduction...................................................................................................................... 78 Review of Research Questions and Purpose of Study..................................................... 78 Review of the Findings.................................................................................................... 79 Completing Personal Development 20................................................................... 79 Meeting with an academic counselor...................................................................... 80 Gender..................................................................................................................... 82 Financial Aid........................................................................................................... 82 EOPS....................................................................................................................... 84 Age.......................................................................................................................... 85 SES.......................................................................................................................... 87 Significance of the Study................................................................................................. 87 Implications of the Study................................................................................................. 89 Academic self-concept............................................................................................ 89 Self-efficacy............................................................................................................ 91 Social integration.................................................................................................... 93 Limitations of the Study................................................................................................... 94 Recommendations for Future Research and Program Development............................... 95 Suggestions for research......................................................................................... 96 Suggestions for program development................................................................... 97 Summary................................................................................................................. 99

REFERENCES.............................................................................................................101

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LIST OF TABLES Table

1. Correlations for African-American Students...........................................................67

2. Persistence by Personal Development 20 for African-American Students.............68

3. Persistence by Counselor for African-American Students......................................68

4. Persistence by Gender for African-American Students...........................................69

5. Persistence by Financial Aid for African-American Students.................................69

6. Persistence by EOPS for African-American Students.............................................70

7. Correlations for Latino Students..............................................................................71

8. Persistence by Personal Development for Latino Students.....................................72

9. Persistence by Counselor for Latino Students.........................................................72

10. Persistence by Gender for Latino Students..............................................................73

11. Persistence by Financial Aid for Latino Students....................................................73

12. Persistence by EOPS for Latino Students................................................................74

13. Persistence for all students (African-American and Latino)....................................75

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ABSTRACT

Factors Impacting Persistence for African-American and

Latino Community College Students

By

Amy Radovi

Persistence of African-American and Latino community college students has lagged behind other ethnic groups. The longitudinal study covered three years that included four semesters. Data from aggregated records of a community college in Southern California were analyzed to gain better understanding of factors that could explain varying rates of persistence. The data represented 609 African-American and Latino community college students who enrolled for the first-time in the fall 2006 semester. In addition to descriptive analysis, the data were subjected to t-tests, Pearson correlation, and multiple regression. These findings revealed that access to a college counselor (p < .01) and offers of financial aid assistance (p < .01) and services from EOPS (p < .05) significantly and positively influenced persistence. The impact of age and SES differed by ethnicity. Older African-American students (p < .01) and younger Latino students (p < .01) were more likely to persist. Socioeconomic status (p < .01) was found to significantly influence persistence for African-American students. SES was not found to be significant in Latino community college student persistence. Age, gender, and completing a personal

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development course did not significantly influence African-American or Latino community college student persistence. The findings can help educators understand African-American and Latino community college student persistence. Community college counselors can facilitate persistence and can have the greatest impact when their contact with students occurs early in the college experience. Further, high schools and community colleges need to work together to disperse information and encourage students to plan for their college education.

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Background of the Problem Over the past two decades, student persistence relating to advancing students in their educational programs has become an area of concern for all institutions at all levels. Historically, California has been a leader in higher education. In recent years, the State of California has failed to provide new generations of low-income, heavily Latino and immigrant students with the college opportunities equivalent to those their parents and grandparents’ generations were afforded (Holland, 2009). It is an objective of educators to facilitate social justice by educating members of diverse groups within society. California had been ranked first on many economic measurements in the United States and in the world. However the State has not responded well to the drastically changing demographics and economic alterations that have occurred over the past 20 years (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2009). California ranked 40 th in the nation in the percentage of high school graduates who went directly to college and near the bottom in the percentage of students who earned college degrees and certificates (Holland, 2009). California ranked 29 th on people between 25 and 34 years of age earning an associate’s degree (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2009). If the State does not increase the number of its educated population, the State will risk a shortage of educated and skilled workers, and could fall short in competing in a global economy (Holland, 2009).

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Community colleges confer the majority of associate’s degrees awarded in the United States. In 2005-06, community colleges conferred 498,229 associate’s degrees, accounting for 70% of all associate’s degrees awarded that year (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2005). The degrees earned at community colleges are important because many of them are awarded to students of color and first-generation college students. They provide students opportunities for better paying jobs or to transfer to four-year universities. This study explored the factors that impact persistence for African-American and Latino community college students. Latino and African-American community college students are not persisting through community college at the same rates as their classmates (Gill & Leigh, 2004; Dougherty & Kienzl, 2006). Thirty-five percent of White community college students drop out of college before earning a degree or certificate (NCES, 2009). Forty percent of Latino community college students drop out of college before earning a degree of certificate (NCES, 2009). Forty-five percent of African- American community college students drop out of college before earning a degree or certificate (NCES, 2009). This study was designed to examine the factors that impact persistence at a California community college. A community college student must persist longer to earn a bachelor’s degree than a student who goes directly to a four-year university. Students who begin at a community college take sixteen months longer to complete a bachelor’s degree than students who begin at a four-year university (71 versus 55 months). This may be due to matriculation issues when students transfer to another institution to complete a four-year degree. There

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are other factors related to the time needed to complete a degree. NCES (2003) found that the higher the level of parents’ educations, the more likely that students persisted. Community college students whose parents had earned advanced degrees were persisting at a rate of five to one compared to students whose parents had a high school diploma or less (NCES, 2007). Community college students who did not delay postsecondary enrollment after high school earned 21% of all associate’s degrees and students who delayed postsecondary enrollment earned 14% of all associate’s degrees (NCES, 2007). According to NCES, in the 2002-03 academic year, 67% of all degrees were earned by White, non-Hispanic students, 22% were earned by groups other than White (includes Black, non-Hispanics, Hispanics, Asians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives), 5% by nonresident aliens, and 5% by students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. Non-white students earned 27% of all associate’s degrees, 22% of all bachelor’s degrees, 17% of all master’s degrees, 14% of all doctoral degrees, and 24% of professional degrees (NCES, 2003). More females than males are enrolled at community colleges. Women earned 67% of degrees granted to African-Americans, 63% of degrees granted to American Indians/Alaskan Natives, 61% of degrees granted to Latinos, 58% of degrees granted to Whites, and 55% of degrees granted to Asians/Pacific Islanders (NCES, 2005). Women earned 58% of all college degrees, 60% of all associate’s degrees, 58% of all bachelor’s degrees, and 59% of all master’s degrees (NCES, 2005). The State of California, with 111 community colleges, has the largest community college system in the United States. California enrolls approximately 1.4 million students

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each fall (California Community College Chancellor’s Office[CCCCO], 2009). Twenty- three percent of the nation’s community college students were in California (NCES, 2008). California also had the largest ratio (5.2%) of community college enrollment to adult population (NCES, 2008). The study examined the persistence of 455 new Latino students and 154 new African-American students at Kendall Community College (KCC), a pseudonym, in the fall of 2006. The overall student body of KCC is 45% Latino and 17% African-American. The district of which KCC is a part of educates three times the number of Latino community college students than any other district and four times as many African- American college students than all the University of California campuses combined (KCC, 2009). Community colleges play a central role in providing educational and vocational opportunities for students of color by admitting more students of color than any other type of postsecondary institution (NCES, 2009). We need to pay particular attention to African-American male students in community colleges because they have disproportionately underachieved on all academic outcome measures (McJunkin, 2005). “African-American men throughout California’s community college system are the lowest performing subgroup when one considers: percentages of degrees earned, persistence rates, and average cumulative grade point average” (McJunkin, 2005, p.362). The academic goals of a community college student vary from taking a course to earning a technical certificate, to earning an Associate’s Degree, and to completing the required courses and credits to transfer to a four-year university. These goals impact the definition of persistence because students tend to stay at a community college to meet

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varying goals. Thirty-one percent of community college students reported that they enrolled in order to transfer to a four-year college, 43% reported enrolling to seek an associate’s degree, 17% reported enrolling to seek a certificate, 42% reported they were seeking job skills, and 46% reported enrolling for personal interest (NCES, 2008). Age can determine whether a student is independent from or dependent upon his or her parents. Forty percent of community college students in 2003-04 were dependent students who received financial support from a parent. Twenty-six percent were 24 years old or older and financially independent from their parents. Twenty percent were independent and married with children. Fifteen percent were independent, single parents (Horn & Nevill, 2006). Many community college students are older, non-traditional students. In 2003-04, the median age of community college students was 24 years versus the median age of 21 years for both public and private four-year institutions (NCES). Thirty-five percent of community college students were 30 years old or older, compared to only 13% at public or private four-year institutions (NCES, 2008). Ethnicity can lead a student to attend community college to a greater extent than any other type of institution. Latino students tended to enroll at a community college regardless of family socio-economic status (NCES, 2008). They generally enrolled at higher rates in community colleges than their peers of other ethnicities (NCES, 2008). NCES (2008) studied enrollment status and found that students who attended community college full time were more likely to persist versus students who attended part time. However, students who alternated between full time and part time attendance

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had even higher persistence rates than students who only attended full time (NCES, 2008). The rate of persistence was higher for students who attended college full time and for students who alternated between full time and part time attendance because their educational goals remained a strong priority in their lives. KCC was selected for this study because although the student body was diverse, similar to many of the 111 public two-year California community colleges, KCC had a relatively small student enrollment: 8,500 students. KCC is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution. Forty-five percent of the total enrollment at KCC is Latino. KCC is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Similar to other California community colleges, KCC offers a wide range of Associate degree subject- area concentrations that facilitate transferring to University of California and California State University campuses. KCC offers 22 Associate degrees in such majors as liberal arts, accounting, administration of justice, architectural technology, biological science, business, child development, computer applications and office technology, computer information systems, drafting, engineering, physical science, social behavioral sciences, and offers two-semester Career Certificates. Services offered to students at KCC include orientation, placement testing, academic advisement, individual counseling, career counseling, honors program, tutoring, student government, student activities, and clubs. Extracurricular programs include a jazz band, choral groups, theater productions, television broadcast productions, and intercollegiate sports in soccer, basketball, baseball, and softball.

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Statement of the Problem This study aimed to bring additional and deserved attention to the matter of community college student persistence of African-American and Latino community college students. A focus was on reviewing factors that might be causing a dilemma related to social justice: students of color are persisting at a lower rate than their White classmates (Gill & Leigh, 2004; Dougherty & Kienzl, 2006). Forty-one percent of White community college students finished a degree or certificate (NCES, 2007). Thirty-four percent of Latino community college students finished a degree or certificate (NCES, 2007). Twenty-eight percent of African-American community college students finished a degree or certificate (NCES, 2007). The researcher who authored this study believes that more can be done to help African-American and Latino community college students enroll in consecutive semesters to earn a vocational degree, an Associate’s degree, or to transfer to a four-year university. This study, conducted at KCC, examined issues related to the persistence of African-American and Latino students. The researcher hoped to find ways to increase persistence of students representing both ethnicities. The community colleges in California have attempted over time to meet the needs of their communities and students by adjusting their enrollment capacities, the degrees and certificates offered, and their curriculum. Public community colleges award associate’s degrees and certificates; in addition, they offer a wide range of services in their local communities. Community colleges are a vital force in the fight for social justice because they enroll 41% of nontraditional, low income students, and students of color (NCES, 2008). Many students use community colleges as a stepping stone in

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pursuing a bachelor’s degree, a graduate degree or a professional degree. According to the Community College League of California (2009) enrollment in California community colleges included 818,988 Latino and 208,924 African-American students. This study was performed at Kendall Community College (KCC), which is a designated Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). A college is designated as an HSI when it has a minimum of 25% Latino college students enrolled; KCC’s student population is 44% Latino. The study examined the extent to which the 455 newly enrolled Latino KCC students persisted within the four semesters researched. Community colleges enroll many low-income students by making postsecondary education affordable. The average annual tuition and fees for a full-time, California student attending a community college were $2,017 (NCES, 2008). The average annual tuition and fees at a public four-year college were $5,685. The average annual tuition and fees at a private four-year college were $20,492 (NCES, 2008). In recent years, the increase in tuition and fees at community colleges has been lower than at public four-year institutions (NCES, 2008). Twenty-six percent of community college students were in the lowest income category, compared to 20% of students in public and private four-year institutions (Horn & Nevill, 2006). The use of financial aid and the extended opportunity program and services at the community college makes college accessible for students that need the most affordable college opportunity. Community colleges employed a greater percentage of African-American and Latino faculty members than public or private four-year institutions, although 80% of faculty members at community colleges are White (NCES, 2008). The likelihood of a

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student of color having a college professor of color is higher at the community college. Having a professor of color has the potential to help students of color adapt and feel more comfortable, thus positively impacting students’ persistence for students of color at the community college level (Grant-Thompson & Atkinson, 1997; Jackson, 2003; Harper & Quaye, 2007). Community colleges are accessible to more students than the four-year universities are. Most community colleges have an open admissions policy. Open admission means that any student can submit an application. Students do not need a high school diploma to enroll at a community college as long as they are at least 18 years of age or are concurrently enrolled in middle or high school. Students whose high school grade point average was 2.5 or below were more likely to enroll at a community college than any other institution (NCES, 2008). Researchers believe that additional studies should examine the potential for remedial Math and English courses to affect student persistence (Gill and Leigh, 2004). A smaller percentage of community college students had completed mathematics coursework more advanced than Algebra II than had completed less academically challenging mathematics (NCES, 2008). A smaller percentage had completed foreign language coursework more advanced than the second year than had completed less academically challenging foreign language coursework (NCES, 2008). Purpose of the Study This study explored the factors that impacted persistence of African-American and Latino community college students at KCC. The study compared African-American

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community colleges students within their own ethnic group and, similarly, compared Latino community college students within their own ethnic group. The researcher of the study believes it is ethically wrong and socially unjust to compare ethnic groups to each other. Variables examined in the study were: completing Personal Development 20, meeting with an academic counselor, gender, being offered financial aid, being offered services from Extended Opportunity Program and Services (EOPS), age, and socio- economic status (SES). By identifying factors that impact community college student persistence, institutions can encourage educators to help African-American and Latino community college students adapt to college life immediately upon their first enrollment. Community college students need encouragement and support in order to develop and participate in positive relationships with others on campus. The more immediate and direct the effort a community college gives to its students, particularly students of color, the more the students will feel part of campus life, be content with themselves, and be ready to persist in achieving their particular academic goals. Community colleges can welcome new students by having an orientation meeting at a time when most of the students can attend. Community colleges can help students persist by having programs on campus that can help new community college students acclimate to college life. Community college counselors can make the effort to meet with as many new students as possible, as soon as possible within their first semester of enrollment and attempt to make a valuable connection with students needing support. The college can give special incentives to new students who enroll in Personal Development 20, a college skills course, during their first

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semester of enrollment in order to promote the importance of academic success at the beginning of students’ academic careers. Outreach at the beginning of students’ academic careers is vital to increasing persistence rates. Significance of the Study As educators, we need to be concerned with the reasons why students leave college before they have met their academic goals. For every student that does not persist, an educational dream is unfulfilled. For every unfulfilled dream, a long-term impact affects the student as well as society. The student population entering community colleges will peak in 2015 and will be more racially and ethnically diverse than the college populations we have seen thus far (Rendon, Garcia, & Pearson, 2004). Students of color are statistically less likely to complete a college degree compared to their White classmates (Gill & Leigh, 2004; Dougherty & Kienzl, 2006). One-half of undergraduates who enrolled at a community college with the intention of continuing their education to obtain a bachelor’s degree and about one-fourth of those who started with an associate’s degree goal transferred to a four-year institution within six years (NCES, 2003). California, as well as many other states, has developed matriculation agreements with four-year institutions to facilitate such transfers (Wellman, 2002). This study is crucial because postsecondary educators need to do more to help students of color succeed in order for our society to be competitive in an ever-increasing global economy. The study is significant because it can contribute to increasing the rate of completion of African-American and Latino community college students. The study

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may also benefit the students themselves, as well as creating a more socially just society, by retaining more college students across ethnicities, genders, and levels of socioeconomic status. The opportunity to attend college and earn a degree needs to be equitable, not simply equal. Being equitable means giving financial, academic, and emotional assistance to students who because of their backgrounds have not had an equal chance to attend college and to experience academic success. Financial aid and EOPS are good examples of trying to be equitable. Financial aid gives tuition money to students who need assistance to survive while attending college. EOPS gives more academic and emotional support to students who qualify for further assistance. It has been asserted that the key to the future of the American economy is tied to the postsecondary education of students of color (Rendon et al., 2004). Compared to White community college students, African-American community college students are 20% less likely to complete college with in a six-year period (Cabrera, Nora, Terenzini, Pascarella, & Hagedorn, 1999). According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (2008) students of color comprised 32% of all students enrolled in two-year colleges, but only received 23% of the Associate’s degrees conferred. Education leads to stronger moral and ethical debates that help shape our values, behaviors, and treatment of others. Pascarella (1996) suggested that it is during college that students tend to become more open minded and tolerant of diversity than at any other time in their lives. The study hopes to discover factors that affect student persistence and

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learn about their impact on academic self-concept, level of self-efficacy, and social integration. It is an issue of social justice that African-American and Latino community college students have not persisted through community college at the same rates as their classmates (Gill & Leigh, 2004; Dougherty & Kienzl, 2006). Forty percent of Latino college students who enrolled in college stopped attending before completing an Associate’s degree or a vocational certificate (NCES, 2009). Forty-four percent of African-American college students who enrolled at a college stopped attending before completing an Associate’s degree or a vocational certificate (NCES, 2009). These outcomes represent both an issue of social justice and a concern for educating members of society. Organization of the Dissertation The purpose of this study was to research the factors impacting the persistence of African-American and Latino students at KCC. This study was designed to increase the reader’s understanding regarding their persistence. Chapter 1 provides an overview of the study. Chapter 2 briefly reviews the history of community colleges in America and specifically in California. The historical and theoretical work on college student persistence by Tinto and Bean is presented. Chapter 2 examines the literature on college student persistence and concludes with a discussion on student persistence through the following lenses: academic self-concept, self-efficacy, and social integration.

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Chapter 3 discusses the methodology used in the research. Data were analyzed from the fall 2006, spring 2007, fall 2007, and spring 2008 semesters. The analysis included factors that impacted student persistence by studying the following variables: completing Personal Development 20, meeting with an academic counselor, gender, being offered financial aid, being offered services from Extended Opportunity Programs and Services, age, and socio-economic status. The students identified themselves by race on their admissions applications. All students in the study entered KCC in fall of 2006. Chapter 4 presents the study’s findings. Descriptive information, t-tests, Pearson’s correlations, and multiple regression analyses were carried out. A t-test compared the dependent variable: persistence with the independent variables: completing Personal Development 20, meeting with an academic counselor, gender, being offered financial aid, being offered services from EOPS, age, and SES. Pearson’s correlations examined the strength and direction of the relationship among variables. Post hoc analyses also examined the data. A multiple regression test was used to examine the relationships between several independent variables and the dependent variable: persistence. The multiple regression analysis examined which of the seven independent variables in combination or alone best-predicted student persistence at KCC. Chapter 5 shares and discusses the results, implications, findings of the study, and offers suggestions for further study. Theoretical framework Tinto and Bean have dominated the field of study on student persistence for the last three decades. Tinto’s (1975) Student Integration Model and Bean’s (1982) Student

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Attrition Model are frameworks still used in current research. Both models commonly viewed attrition from college as a longitudinal process. Students’ decisions to persist are determined by the quality of interactions between student characteristics and institutional environments (Johnson, 2006). Tinto’s model has been validated many times in studies of full-time students at four-year colleges. However, questions regarding extending the model to part-time, commuter, and non-traditional students, including students of color at community colleges, still exist (Dowd & Coury, 2006). Academic self-concept is the way a student views his or her academic ability compared to other students. Academic self-concept includes attitudes, feelings, and perceptions of one’s academic skills and intellect (Cokley, 2000). A strong academic self- concept has been found to significantly predict academic success among college students of color and those from low SES families (Gerardi, 1990; Newman & Newman, 1999). Community college students who interact with others on their college campuses often have an increased intellectual disposition, a clearer sense of career identity, and a more positive attitude about their college education than those who interact with others on college campus less (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2001). The study examined factors that may impact student persistence, including a possible connection that could be shown through analysis of data on spending time with a counselor, spending time with classmates or a Personal Development 20 professor, interacting with caring staff from the financial aid office, or building rapport with EOPS representatives. Self-efficacy has consistently been found to be a strong predictor of achievement (Hsieh, Sullivan, & Guerra, 2007). Self-efficacy refers to people’s judgment of their

Full document contains 121 pages
Abstract: Persistence of African-American and Latino community college students has lagged behind other ethnic groups. The longitudinal study covered three years that included four semesters. Data from aggregated records of a community college in Southern California were analyzed to gain better understanding of factors that could explain varying rates of persistence. The data represented 609 African-American and Latino community college students who enrolled for the first-time in the fall 2006 semester. In addition to descriptive analysis, the data were subjected to t-tests, Pearson correlation, and multiple regression. These findings revealed that access to a college counselor (p < .01) and offers of financial aid assistance (p < .01) and services from EOPS (p < .05) significantly and positively influenced persistence. The impact of age and SES differed by ethnicity. Older African-American students (p < .01) and younger Latino students (p < .01) were more likely to persist. Socioeconomic status (p < .01) was found to significantly influence persistence for African-American students. SES was not found to be significant in Latino community college student persistence. Age, gender, and completing a personal development course did not significantly influence African-American or Latino community college student persistence. The findings can help educators understand African-American and Latino community college student persistence. Community college counselors can facilitate persistence and can have the greatest impact when their contact with students occurs early in the college experience. Further, high schools and community colleges need to work together to disperse information and encourage students to plan for their college education.