Date of Award

2021

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Department

Education

First Advisor

Annemarie Vaccaro

Abstract

Over a period of several years, the University of Rhode Island (URI) implemented a number of strategies aimed to improve (a) undergraduate retention; and, (b) four-year degree completion. These efforts started amid continual increases in undergraduate tuition rates at the University and after just 38.5% of the first-time, fulltime undergraduates who began attendance in the fall of 2008 had graduated from URI by the summer of 2012. For the cohort of first-time, fulltime undergraduates who started at URI in the fall of 2014, the four-year graduation rate was 53%. Despite this increase in the statistic at the institution, it still means that many URI first-time, fulltime undergraduates are spending additional semesters, and thus tuition dollars, in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree than is traditionally expected for full-time pursuit of college completion. This quantitative research sociodemographic data collected from six recent cohorts of first-time, fulltime URI undergraduates to operationalize Tinto’s (1975, 1993) theorized factors of college student departure. These factors were analyzed using logistic regression to examine which, if any of the factors, were correlated with four-year degree completion at URI amid the retention efforts. High school GPA, expected family contribution, and institutional financial aid award were among the factors with the strongest relationship with timely degree completion.

Available for download on Sunday, April 23, 2023

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