Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Educational Leadership


Havice, Pamela A

Committee Member

Cawthon , Tony

Committee Member

Grimes , Lawrence

Committee Member

Clark Lindle , Jane


The primary purpose of this study was to explore pre- and post-admission characteristics of retained first-year students enrolled in non-proximal distance learning programs within a public, 2-year college environment. Pre-admission characteristics included student attributes, such as age, sex, race/ethnicity, GPA, and technology experience. Post-admission characteristics included lifestyle variables (i.e., employment status, family obligations, and finances) and student perceptions regarding institutional variables (i.e., academic integration, commitment and technology access). The sample for this study consisted of 197 first-year students enrolled in non-proximal distance learning programs from among five, public, 2-year colleges in Virginia during the 2008-09 academic year.
A quantitative data collection method was used in this exploratory study. Data analysis revealed three major conclusions: (1) the majority of subjects were non-traditional-aged, white females, with a high GPA. They also had technology experience; (2) the majority of subjects were employed on a full-time basis, acknowledged that employment while attending college was a major source of funding, reported having dependent children under the age of 18 living in the household, and experienced problems related to job, family and personal finances while enrolled; (3) the majority of subjects had a high school and college GPA of above 3.0, believed the institutional academic advising system was more than adequate, concluded that it was important to graduate from their current institution, believed it was important to graduate from any institution, and had access to technology from college or home. However, almost half reported having limited access to technology from work.
Implications are provided for 2-year college level administrators seeking to establish and/or maintain non-proximal distance learning programs. Recommendations for future research are also provided.