Date of Conferral







Richard S. Schuttler


Senior leaders of higher education institutions make management-related funding decisions that meet the needs of the institution without incurring financial loss. By classifying groups of students into strategic business units, these leaders can make targeted fund management decisions. Researchers have demonstrated that higher education institutions have successfully implemented student retention programs for students in the freshman unit, but in this early adoption stage, have been unable to establish a pattern in the sophomore unit decision-making process. This study was designed to determine the relationship between the management decisions to allocate funding for retention programs for students in the sophomore year in relation to the annual cost and the anticipated increase in student retention. The design was a quantitative correlation study, with a population of 49 senior leaders from 4-year higher education institutions in North Carolina, most of whom held the position of provost. The researcher developed the electronic survey instrument to measure the outcomes of this study and the results were analyzed using both regression analysis and Bradley-Terry pairwise analysis. The findings of this study suggest a significant relationship exists between the decision to fund retention programs and both the cost of the programs and the anticipated increase in student retention after program implementation. The management decision to allocate funds for the implementation of retention programming for students in a sophomore strategic business unit may improve the retention/graduation rates of students, which may increase the potential earning power of the college graduates while reducing the default rate of student loans.