Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Kim VanDerLinden

Second Supervisor

Michael Robinson

Third Supervisor

Ed Engelbride


Individuals from rural communities are less likely to enroll in college and complete a degree than those from non-rural areas. Nationally, rural students comprise one-fifth of college enrollment, and evidence suggests this demographic group has unique needs which may influence retention. This quantitative study examined multiple years of data from the State University of New York Student Opinion Survey for students at a small, rural technical college in Upstate New York to determine if relationships existed between a college student’s graduating high school community type, student satisfaction, GPA, and retention at the beginning of the second year. Binary logistic regression analyses were employed to determine the extent to which first-year retention was explained by self-reported satisfaction and GPA for rural high school graduates. Additionally, multiple t tests were used to determine if differences in satisfaction existed for students from rural high schools versus students from non-rural schools. The results indicated statistically significant positive correlations between students from rural high schools, first-year GPA, and satisfaction with the campus facilities, services, and environment. Rural high school students were also more likely to report that they would attend the university again, had higher overall levels of satisfaction with the college, and were more likely to indicate that the institution was a higher choice for them than for students from non-rural high schools. Recommendations for additional research and initiatives targeting students who graduate from high schools in rural communities are included.

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