Student Satisfaction and Persistence---A Study of Factors Which Are Vital To Student Retention

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and School Counseling

First Advisor

Ronald A. Styron, Jr.

Advisor Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling


The purpose of this study was to investigate students' perceptions of services, interactions, and experiences in the College of Education and Psychology at a research-intensive university in the deep South. Through the use of a survey instrument, data were collected from the university's College of Education and Psychology students during the Spring 2008 semester. Then, during the following fall semester, enrollment data were obtained on these same students to determine if they were taking courses for the same program of study they reported in the spring. The survey data from the two groups (the students who were still enrolled in the same academic program and those students who were not or not enrolled in classes) were compared to see if there are any significant differences for the measured variables. The largest percentage of respondents were Caucasian (62.3%) or African American (31.8%), and 43.5% of the participants classified themselves as juniors. The majority, 76.0% of respondents, were female. During the Spring 2008 semester, data were collected on participants' perceptions for the following university experiences and services: academic advising, social connectedness, involvement and engagement, faculty/staff approachability, business procedures, learning experiences, and student support services. The results of the study indicated that students who did not return for the Fall 2008 semester or changed majors to another area had statistically significant lower perceptions of social connectedness, as well as significantly lower levels of satisfaction with faculty approachability, than students who returned.