Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Phenomenological Examination of Nontraditional Student Insight on Retention at a University
by Schmidt, Tawna Lynnette, Ed.D., Grand Canyon University, 2015, 225; 3705459
Abstract (Summary)

With the nontraditional student population growing at a staggering rate, this study was conducted to contribute to the literature on the reasons nontraditional students remain enrolled in a university, despite having to overcome multiple challenges not typical of a traditional college student. The problem statement of this study stated: It was not known how nontraditional students perceived factors and events that motivated them to stay enrolled in postsecondary courses and persist to attaining a degree. The research questions were (1) How did a nontraditional student stay motivated to remain enrolled at a university? (2) What were the positive and negative experiences that influenced a nontraditional student to remain enrolled at a university? and (3) What perceived obstacles or challenges did nontraditional students experience that resulted in the decision to withdraw from a university before goal completion? Ten nontraditional students at moderate or high risk of dropping out were interviewed for this qualitative phenomenological study. The theoretical framework of Bean and Metzner’s conceptual model of nontraditional student attrition was utilized in the study. The data were analyzed utilizing Moustakas’ modified Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method of analysis, with thirteen themes emerging in the analysis. The theoretical implication of this study is that there are compelling reasons nontraditional students have to remain enrolled in college, despite the presence of obstacles that often lead to attrition rather than persistence. Additional research is warranted on nontraditional student retention that focuses on qualitative studies and methods of supporting these students to assist in their challenges.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Homburg, Carla
Commitee: D'Urso, Patricia, Shutay, Jeanette
School: Grand Canyon University
Department: College of Doctoral Studies
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 76/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Higher education
Keywords: Adult learner, College, Dropout, Nontraditional student, Retention, University
Publication Number: 3705459
ISBN: 9781321785357
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