Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Leadership and Research

Committee Chair

Dr. Wanda Maulding

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Dr. James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3

Dr. Amy Townsend

Committee Member 4

Dr. Michael Ward

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the retention rate of students who had received academic scholarships versus students who had not received academic scholarships but met the qualifications to receive the scholarships and the effects of emotional intelligence on these students. The data collection mechanisms for this study included the student information system at The University of Southern Mississippi and the EQi: Short survey administered to students during the orientation week activities at The University of Southern Mississippi prior to the beginning of the fall 2004 semester. There were 667 students who participated in the EQi: Short survey during the orientation week activities in fall 2004, of those students, 213 students met the qualifications to receive the scholarship and had partaken in the EQi: Short survey. The students were monitored over an 8 semester time frame with 196 students' race being Caucasian and 11 students being African American. Based on all of the students in the study, 71% persisted by either graduating from the institution or still being enrolled after the 8l semester; compared to 29% of students who were no longer enrolled at the institution and did not earn a degree. Based on EQi sub scores of student who persist, stress management had the highest mean of 101.15, while general mood had a mean score of 99.46.

In this study, various statistical tests were conducted to determine persistence including Chi Square, t-test, and logistic regression. In the study, there were significant differences between the persistence of students who did earn a scholarship and those students who qualified for the scholarship but did not receive it. Students who earned a scholarship persisted at a greater rate than students who did not persist. There was also a significant difference between the persistence of females who receive the scholarship versus males who received the scholarship, with females persisting at a higher rate compared to male students. Students' GPA in the spring 2007 showed a significant difference between students who had the scholarship and those students who did not have the scholarship. Significance was not found in the persistence of students who received a Pell Grant compared to students who did not receive a Pell Grant; nor was significance detected based on the race of the student being either African American or Caucasian.

Recommendations for further research would include expanding the study to include multitude of cohorts and students at The University of Southern Mississippi and expanding the study to institutions in the southeastern United States. A qualitative study could be conducted on students who did not persist to discover their reasons for leaving the institution, as well as a qualitative study being conducted on students who chose to persist at the institution and their reasons for continuing their studies.

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