Factors and Initiatives in Community College Student Attrition: A Qualitative Analysis

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Community college student attrition has continued to be a problem for multiple stakeholders in the higher education system. Past research on community college student attrition focused on quantitative data or qualitative analysis from the student perspective. This study helped fill the gap by analyzing faculty perspectives on student attrition. Faculty perspectives on community college student attrition were examined through the lenses of servant leadership and Maslow’s theory. The theoretical framework views student attrition as due to unmet student needs, aligning with the research discussed in the review of the literature. The purpose of the study was to explore new insight into the reasons behind student attrition and initiatives taken to reduce student attrition. The research involved interviewing 16 part- and full-time faculty at a community college in Pennsylvania in semistructured 30-minute recorded interviews. Data were recorded on the Voice Recorder android application, anonymously labeled, transcribed, and saved to Notepad on a Windows 10 PC, and coded and analyzed using Qualitative Data Analysis Miner Lite. Emerging themes were presented with the intention of providing insight to various community college stakeholders who would benefit from a reduction in student attrition. Key factors in attrition emerged including financial challenges, familial challenges, and support. Initiatives to address student attrition were found to be poorly planned and terminated too early.