Higher Education Ph.D. Dissertations


Assessing the Factors that Affect the Persistence and Graduation Rates of Native American Students in Postsecondary Education

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Higher Education Administration

First Advisor

William Knight (Advisor)


This study sought to answer two primary research questions: (a) Are there statistically significant differences between the persistence to graduation rates of Native American college students who attend tribal colleges and Native American college students who attend mainstream institutions of higher education in America; and (b) What are the factors that affect the persistence to graduation rates of Native American college students? Results of institutional-level data analysis using data obtained through the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) showed statistically significant differences in enrollment, persistence, and graduation and degree receipt based on institutional characteristics. Further analysis using student-level data obtained through license to use restricted access data sets from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study 1995-96 and the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study 1996-2001 confirmed findings from IPEDS analysis, but advanced analysis was not fully completed because the number of cases was insufficient to maintain stability in testing. One major finding of this study was that the broad claims of tribal college success are not entirely supported within the data that were examined.