Alabama Community College Students: An Examination of the Association Between the Barriers to Graduation and the Motivating Factors
Type of DegreeDissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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This study identified motivating factors that address specific barriers to success for students attending Alabama community colleges. The motivating factors identified in the research included academic support/tutoring programs, faculty mentoring programs, involvement in campus life, and personal resilience. The barriers include the lack of financial support, family support, academic preparedness, personal commitment, and social support. The study also ascertained which motivating factors each Alabama community college student experienced and how that impacted each of the specific barriers identified. Approximately 300 Alabama community college students currently enrolled at two Southeast region colleges were presented with surveys, with a total return of 75 surveys (25%). The areas of interest included their experience in tutoring/academic support services, faculty relationships, campus involvement, personal resilience, financial support, family support, academic preparation, personal commitment, and social support systems developed while actively enrolled. Spearman Correlation Coefficient results indicated that the barriers of financial support, family support, academic preparation, personal commitment and social support significantly (p < .001) contributed to the motivating factors of tutoring/academic support services, faculty mentoring relationships, campus involvement and personal resilience. However, the motivating factor of faculty mentoring relationships was positively correlated to financial support, but the p-value was 0.0025. These factors had alpha reliability scores of .72 to .91. The results seemed to indicate that each of the identified motivating factors had a strong association with the identified barriers. The data provided evidence of an association between all motivating factors and the barriers experienced by Alabama community college attendees. These findings suggested that the more motivating factors a community college student experienced, the more likely he or she will be to overcome the barriers and complete community college. While no specific motivating factor significantly impacted one barrier more than any of the others, this research does provide evidence that the barriers can be overcome with the assistance of involvement in the motivating factors. All of the motivating factors had significant correlations with the barriers and had strong p-values that suggested an association.