Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Stacy Wahl


This study was conducted to examine the association between the Student Success

Center and student retention at a South Carolina technical college. Recognizing the low

retention rates of technical colleges in South Carolina and nationally, the college

opened a Student Success Center in 2012; however, an analysis of the center’s effect on

retention rates had not been conducted. With a better understanding of this relationship,

the college can plan for future use of the center to strengthen retention. The key

research question was focused on the association between Student Success Center

attendance and student retention using an ex post facto design involving two

dichotomous variables: attendance at the Student Success Center and retention over 3

years. A sample of 18,712 students was drawn from archival data maintained by the

college to compare students who used the center and those who did not use the center,

excluding transfer students and middle college students. Frequency percentage statistics

were generated for the two dichotomous categorical variables in the study: center

utilization and retention. Chi-square analysis with Yates correction was used to test for

a significant association between the two variables. Findings showed evidence of a

statistically significant association between center utilization and retention, χ2 (1) =

162.23, p < 0.0001, indicating that student engagement with the Student Success Center

contributed to resiliency as reflected in student retention. Therefore, this study

contributed to research on the association between student support services for

community college students and student retention, encouraging social change by

strengthening practical solutions to the challenges faced by these students.