Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Shelley Jallow

Second Supervisor

Carol J. Alleyne


Low college graduation rates continue to be a great concern for institutions of higher education. There is a need to examine and employ strategies that will help students cope, persevere, and graduate. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to examine the perceptions of Christian college students to determine if they identify spirituality as a mechanism to help them cope and persevere at a 4-year urban public college. Social cognition (Bandura, 1986), self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977), and student involvement (Astin, 1984) provided the theoretical framework. Five research questions guided the study. Eight students participated in a one on one in-depth face to face interview. Twelve interview questions were presented to each student. The researcher extracted rich data from the interviews that provided substantial evidence to support the study. The results from the study indicated the student’s definition of spirituality is directly related to their beliefs, values, and practices. God, prayer, and reading the Bible underscored the principles of their faith. Findings indicated the student’s faith was cultivated by their family, friends, and church family. Interacting with other Christian students at the college provided additional support the students indicated they needed to cope and persevere in college. Based on the findings from this study further research into the lived experiences and perceptions of underrepresented minorities, Christians and non-Christian students, and male students would provide valuable insight into this emerging phenomenon. Perhaps, spirituality is a strategy that may help to increase the graduation rates for college students and institutions of higher education.

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