Factors affecting minority students' intent to stay at an urban community college

Donna Theresa Genova, Fordham University


The issue of student persistence has emerged as a major concern for American college and university administrators since retaining currently enrolled students has become a vital strategy for institutional survival. Two-year colleges provide opportunities for students to enhance their status and productivity in society since they are located in communities to serve the people, and to provide educational opportunities for large numbers of Americans denied direct entry into traditional colleges. The problem investigated in this study concerned the extent to which background, academic, environmental, and psychological variables influenced a psychological construct entitled "Intent to Stay." A model was developed which attempted to determine those factors that influenced 30 urban, minority, community college students to continue their course enrollment. A questionnaire was developed to obtain quantitative data, while focused research interviews were conducted to explore those academic, environmental, and psychological variables that affected college persistence. The division of the sample into three groups based on grade point average provided the basis for the analysis of the data. The results indicated that most students displayed similarities in the following areas: study habits, lack of use of both the college tutorial services and the advisement system, insufficient finances, health problems, factors that contributed to school stress, and their amount of goal commitment. There were significant differences regarding scores on placement tests, the percentage of remedial and college courses that were successfully completed, the rate of course failures and debarments, the amount of personal responsibilities between the sexes, the practical value of a college degree, and the third semester cumulative grade point average. Since the students had to overcome numerous obstacles and difficulties in order to continue their enrollment, it was concluded that a global measure of Intent to Stay was predictive of student persistence. Environmental variables had more significant, direct effect on the Intent to Stay variable than academic variables since commuting students were influenced by their interaction with the noncollegiate, external environment. Similarly, the academic outcome of the students, as measured by the student's third semester grade point average, was primarily influenced by selected background and academic variables.

Subject Area

School administration|Community colleges

Recommended Citation

Genova, Donna Theresa, "Factors affecting minority students' intent to stay at an urban community college" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9007180.