Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Beth Rous


This mixed methods study investigates the influence of student characteristics and institutional support services and interventions on graduation rates. Regression analysis was conducted using a dataset constructed from multiple publically available resources to estimate graduation rates. Regression results showed High School Grade Point Average to be the highest estimator of graduation rates, among other student and institutional characteristics. The results confirmed existing findings on the influence of student pre-college and demographic characteristics on graduation rates for students with academic needs. Content analysis of survey data from office of support service personnel at public four-year institutions shows institutions implement a wide array of support services, with a focus on Summer Bridge Programs to support college readiness in underprepared students. Content analysis of interviews with Academic Support Staff indicates institutions focus attention on students with low academic credentials through support services and interventions practiced in unique ways at the institutional level. Findings from the study were used to construct a model for use by institutions to improve support services and programs provided to students with low academic credentials regardless of their pre-existing characteristics.