For-profit colleges are under scrutiny with questions about quality of curriculum, quality of faculty and instruction, and the value of the degree for the high-priced tuition. The high debt-load and low levels of persistence among students who enter for-profit institutions raise the level of concern for these students, many of whom are older and are from under-represented minorities. However, there is little in the literature about the characteristics of student success and persistence in the for-profit sector. Because many students in the for-profit sector approach their education process as consumers, establishing a link between student satisfaction and persistence could provide for-profit colleges with strategies for enabling more students to complete their education. The purpose of this study was to examine this relationship between student satisfaction and persistence using the Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI; Schreiner & Juillerat, 1993). Data were collected on 5,718 students who completed the Two-year Career and Private School SSI Form B online at 21 for-profit schools. Additionally, persistence data were collected 1 term and 1 year after the administration of the SSI. Models to predict persistence were developed using structural equation modeling, which demonstrated a small relationship between SSI scales scores and term persistence (R 2 = .03) as well as year persistence (R2 = .07). A third model was developed with intent to choose the institution again as the outcome; this model exhibited a much stronger relationship between satisfaction and intent to persist (R2 = .36). Although student satisfaction with institutional factors such as commitment to student welfare and integrity were hypothesized to have a significant effect on persistence in this student population, the findings indicate that the majority of the predictors of actual persistence in the for-profit environment remain unknown. However, based on the predictors of intent to choose the institution again, satisfaction does play a significant role in students' perceptions of institutional effectiveness and word-of-mouth reputation. Thus, the regular assessment of student satisfaction provides relevant information administrators can use to manage school reputation, admissions, and alumni relations. Further research is needed to continue defining the characteristics that affect actual student persistence in the for-profit sector.
|Advisor:||Schreiner, Laurie A.|
|Commitee:||Glickstein, Shelley, Kim, Young K.|
|School:||Azusa Pacific University|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration, Adult education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Academic reputation, Degree completion, For-profit universities, Persistence, Student persistence, Student satisfaction|
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