Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

To what degree does money matter for student success? A quantitative examination of the relationships between institutional expenditures and student success outcomes
by El Fattal, David, Ed.D., California State University, Fullerton, 2014, 262; 3581492
Abstract (Summary)

California community colleges are under pressure to increase core student attainment outcomes such as graduation rates, transfer rates, and certificate completion rates. This study examined whether, or how, the allocation of institutional expenditures for instructional, student support, administrative, and total educational and general activities influenced the student success outcomes and indicators of student progress and attainment rate (SPAR), percentage of students who earned at least 30 units (thirty-unit completion), and persistence rate (persistence) at California's community college districts.

This quantitative, explanatory, non-experimental study employed Astin's I-E-O model (Astin, 1977, 1993) as a conceptual framework, and examined through bivariate analyses, the relationships between (a) two input variables of socioeconomic status (SES) and district type (multi-college or single college); (b) eight mediating variables of various institutional expenditure categories and ratio metrics; and (c) three student success related outcome variables of SPAR, thirty-unit completion, and persistence. By understanding these relationships more completely, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers may be better able to develop strategies to improve student success outcomes within available financial resources, whether funding levels are decreasing, static, or growing.

The key findings revolved around SES being the dominant influencing factor in the attainment of each student success outcome of interest. Further, the relative level of SES seemed to drive the volume, cost, and distribution of programs and services from a district's finite budget, as low SES districts spent comparatively more than high SES districts on administrative functions and student support activities, and spent comparatively less on direct classroom instruction. Meanwhile, high SES districts did the inverse and spent comparatively less than low SES districts on administrative functions and student support activities and spent comparatively more on direct classroom instruction. Finally, institutional resource allocations of major topline expenditure measures for administrative, student support, and instructional were significantly different for low SES and high SES districts. Yet, because of the significant impact of SES on the outcomes, the differences did not make clear whether, or to what degree, the expenditure allocations for administrative, student support, and instructional activities directly influenced SPAR, thirty-unit completion, or persistence.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pacheco, Robert
School: California State University, Fullerton
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 75/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Community college education, Educational leadership, Higher education
Keywords: California Community College, Community College, Educational Finance, Higher Education, Socioeconomic Status, Student Success
Publication Number: 3581492
ISBN: 9781321249675
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