Relationship of individual and academic characteristics on dropout and persistence in adult degree-bound students

Mathilda Braceros Catarina, Fordham University


Institutions of higher education are becoming increasingly concerned with the dwindling numbers of traditional college students. Historically, colleges have directed their attention to the 18- to 22-year-old members of the population. However, by 1990 there will be 1.5 million fewer youths between the ages of 16 and 24 than in 1984 and of that pool of decreased numbers, a lower percentage of students are entering college immediately following graduation from high school. Researchers have stated that by 1997, the United States will have experienced a 23% decline in the total number of traditional-aged students which should result in a 5% to 15% reduction in total college enrollment over the next 20 years.^ Enrollment trends suggest that by 1990 47% of the college students will be age 25 or above and that the major challenge for institutions of higher education will be to recruit and retain adult students.^ This study was undertaken to increase the fund of knowledge of adult attrition literature and to determine whether a group of antecedent variables would predict dropout or persistence behavior in a group of adult degree-bound students.^ The subjects were 440 students admitted to a program for adults at Brooklyn College, City University of New York during the period from Fall 1978 through Fall 1983. The first part of the study included tracking students for 8 semesters to determine dropout or persistence status and collecting data from existing records. The second part of the study was the analysis of a questionnaire sent to all of the students in the research project.^ The results indicated that an equation using the variables defined in this study could be utilized to improve the prediction of persistence of adult degree-bound students. The application of this equation for admissions decision raises both economic and ethical issues. The study also showed that in addition to admissions decision making, the data could be used to plan intervention strategies aimed at increasing persistence.^ Recommendations for additional research were suggested. ^

Subject Area

Educational administration|Educational psychology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Catarina, Mathilda Braceros, "Relationship of individual and academic characteristics on dropout and persistence in adult degree-bound students" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9034628.