Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




William McCook


Increasing student on-time completion is a challenge for many higher education institutions. In the community college chosen for this study, only 5.2% of its first-time-in-college, full-time students graduated within 3 years with a 2-year degree. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between participation in the college's academic advising program and students' time-to-degree completion, based on the pre- and post-entry attributes outlined in Tinto's institutional departure theory. A non-experimental, correlational, quantitative research method with multiple regression analysis was applied, using a convenience sample of 190 graduating students from the institution's 2011 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) cohort. Specifically, the quantitative design employed bivariate correlation analysis to select applicable pre- and post-entry characteristics and then regression analysis to determine the degree to which academic advising predicted time-to-degree completion based on characteristics. The regression analysis indicated that the variables of first-generation, intent to transfer, use of services, club participation, and financial aid eligibility significantly impacted student time to degree completion. The data analysis also indicated that students who did not see an academic advisor graduated faster than those who did. These findings led to a white paper recommending implementation of a tiered academic advising approach, development of specific advising outcomes, and increased data collection to improve the advising structure at the institution. By working to increase the IPEDS graduation rate, the institution can provide opportunities for students to increase their employment and earnings potential, improving the overall quality of life for students, their families, and the community, thus promoting positive social change.