Individual and combined impact of institutional student support strategies on first-time, full-time, degree-seeking community college students
Although U.S. rates of college enrollment among 18-24 year olds have reached historic highs, rates of degree completion have not kept pace. This is especially evident at community colleges, where a disproportionate number of students from groups who, historically, have had low college-completion rates enroll. One way community colleges are attempting to address low completion rates is by implementing institutional interventions intended to increase opportunities for student engagement at their colleges. Utilizing logistic and linear regression analyses, this study focused on community college students, examining the association between participation in institutional support activities and student outcomes, while controlling for specific student characteristics known to impact student success in college. The sample included 746 first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students at a single community college located in the U.S. Southwest. Additional analyses were conducted for the 440 first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students in this sample who placed into at least one developmental education course. Findings indicate that significant associations exist between different types of participation in institutional interventions and various student outcomes: Academic advising was found to be related to increased rates of Fall to Spring and Fall to Fall persistence and, for developmental education students, participation in a student success course was found to be related to an increase in the proportion of course credit hours earned. The results of this study provide evidence that student participation in institutional-level support may relate to increased rates of college persistence and credit hour completion; however, additional inquiry is warranted to inform specific policy and program decision-making at the college and to determine if these findings are generalizable to populations outside of this college setting.