Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Nancy B. Walters


At a private for-profit hospitality college in Philadelphia, there are rising percentages of students not persisting to the sophomore year. The study was grounded by the theoretical framework of Tinto's model of student retention. The purpose of this causal comparative study was to examine the relationship between student persistence and the academic variables of major, vocational technical preparation, and provisional acceptance. The relationship was analyzed using a chi-square test of independence. The data collected for the study came from archival data based upon the sample of 162 full-time students enrolled during the August 2014 class start in the majors of Culinary Arts, Pastry Arts, Restaurant Management, and Hotel Management. The results displayed that persistence is dependent on the student major of choice and students who had vocational technical preparation. However, the results displayed that persistence was most likely independent of students who were provisionally accepted, suggesting that provisional acceptance had no influence on whether students persisted from freshmen to sophomore year or not. The implications for positive social change on the local level include providing research-based findings on variables associated with first-year student persistence to inform targeted student support services and ultimately improve student persistence at the institution studied. A professional development workshop has been created to educate faculty and staff at the college about the results of the study. The implications for positive social change outside of the institution include a higher number of students who are qualified to obtain jobs and positively help their communities grow and develop.