Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. William L. Curlette

Second Advisor

Dr. Hongli Li

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard Lakes

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Blaine Bennett


Community colleges serve approximately fifty percent of all students seeking post-secondary education, yet few studies have specifically focused on institutional policies and factors that affect student success. The purpose of this study is to investigate important institutional and student factors affecting student success in order to better inform community college policy makers. Utilizing transcript level data over a period of seven years from 28 community colleges across 6 states, multilevel growth analyses were conducted using hierarchical linear modeling. This permits teasing out the effects of institutional policies on three student success outcomes: (a) grade point averages, (b) enrollment intensity, and (c) completion rate in classes. This study adds to the limited research on 2-year community colleges using transcript level data to investigate institutional factors related to student success. Results show that institutions that report mid-term grades show a positive effect on the grade point average and the completion rate of classes after controlling for student factors. Institutional size is negatively associated with enrollment intensity.