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Student Retention and Community Colleges - Development Plan

Autor:   •  March 5, 2017  •  Business Plan  •  2,345 Words (10 Pages)  •  468 Views

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Student Retention and Community Colleges

Lachelle Garner

University of Missouri-Saint Louis


Community colleges are a significant component of higher education institutions. They are known to be open institutions that provide students with access to higher education at an affordable rate. A common challenge among community colleges is retention and measuring student success. There are many factors that affect student retention and community colleges have designed and implemented programming to increase such rates. Designing a variety of programs also proposes challenges that are affected by various trends and data. With the help of current programs as well as advancements within the world of higher education, community colleges can make recommendations that aide to increase retention rates, and expand programming to support students in greater ways.


Community colleges have the stated mission of encouraging access to a postsecondary credential for all students, and staff members are generally committed to helping disadvantaged individuals succeed in college (Karp, O’Gara, Hughes, 2008). Deciding to enroll in college is a milestone for most in pursing post-secondary education. No matter the age, gender, or race of a person, there are many factors that one considers prior to enrolling. Some of the common challenges that impact an enrollment decision include the financial aspect, family support, finding a program that is suitable and achievable as well as being prepared overall. When enrolling in college, many students don’t consider is the outcome and likelihood that one would complete a program once they are enrolled. Compared to other types of higher education institutions, community colleges historically have lower rates of retention (Pruett & Absher, 2015). For that reason, community colleges have a negative reputation in their ability to provide programming and systems that work. Developing meaningful programs and policies, getting a handle on the challenges that students face while in college as well as understanding trends among community college students can increase student retention rates. Thus, community colleges can have a better reputation regarding student completion and persistence amongst higher education.

Defining Retention

To understand student retention at community colleges, one must first identify a common definition as the what student retention means on the community college level. Per Pruett and Absher (2015), retention on the community college level is defined as reenrollment


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