Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 2006


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Mary Breckenridge

Committee Member

Andrew P. Roth

Committee Member

Thomas J. Gamble


college choice, persistence, private catholic college


In today's world a college education is very important in terms of both a person's cultural and human capital. A college education can increase a person's human capital and either replicate or enhance one's cultural capital. The purpose of this study was to focus on the variables of net college price, institutional grant aid, a family's adjusted gross income, if a student was a first generation college student and a student's high school preparedness and their relationship to persistence. Students are making decisions that impact their future each and every day, when they pick the "right" college to attend. Colleges also participate in the college choice process by picking the "right" students based on their admissions criteria. Once the college choice decision is made by both parties, it is persistence that then matters. Small private Catholic colleges that have limited resources are very concerned with persistence from both an institutional and student point of view. Increasing a student's chance of persistence is a very positive outcome for a college of this type. If a model could be used at the time of admissions to predict a student's chance of persistence, then those students who are admitted but who would be at risk of attrition could receive support services provided by the college in order to increase their persistence. The 2004-05 freshmen cohort of 715 traditional students at a small private Catholic college were studied quantitatively using a logistic regression model. The model was run on the entire sample, on the sample based on SES groupings, and then on the sample based on gender. The results of the model indicate that these variables were not helpful in predicting persistence. Several reasons are discussed for this: lack of variability of the student data for this college, the college's financial aid policy and the sociological and psychological variables (beside economic and academic) that can cause a student not to persist.