Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Brandi Hephner-LaBanc

Second Advisor

Amy Wells Dolan

Third Advisor

KB Melear

School

University of Mississippi

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

On an average year, over 90,000 students enroll in a Mississippi community college. Until now, no data were available to identify the number of students enrolled in the Mississippi community college system who were single parents. No data were available to determine if there was a relationship between being a single parent and fall-to-fall retention. Each of the fifteen Mississippi community colleges were asked to provide data on the 2016 cohort of students. Data collected were race/ethnicity, academic program (transfer or career/technical), three questions from the FAFSA to determine a student’s single parent status, if each student was retained from the Fall 2016 to the Fall 2017 semester, grade point average at 100% of time to degree (four semesters), and if the student completed a degree after four semesters. Four colleges provided usable data for the study, representing 8.6% (8,427) of the 98,013 students enrolled in for-credit courses in the Fall 2016 semester. The study found 12.4% of students in the sample were single parents. The average grade point average of single parents was 2.62. The average grade point average of non-single parents was 2.55. Separate Chi-square tests were used to determine if a significant relationship existed between single parent status (yes or no), single parents’ gender, single parents’ race/ethnicity, and fall-to-fall retention. Additionally, the independent T-test statistic was used to determine if a significant difference existed between single parent status and grade point average. Results showed that single parent status (single parent or not) had a strong relationship between fall-to-fall retention status (retained or not) as well as a significant difference in grade point average after four semesters. Gender and race/ethnicity did not have a significant relationship with fall-to-fall retention among the sample.

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