Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Sydney Parent


According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the graduation rate for Native American (NA) college students was less than 1%. As enrollment increases in local colleges and universities, so do concerns about the persistence, retention, and completion of NA students. The purpose of this study was to investigate what influenced first-year NA students to persist toward graduation at a local college. The conceptual framework concentrated on social integration perspectives based on Tinto's student integration model. A qualitative case study design was chosen to gain insight into the phenomenon. Purposeful sampling procedures were used to recruit 6 first-year NA students at a local college. In-depth semistructured interviews were conducted with student participants. One college administrator was also interviewed. Data were analyzed using coding to identify emergent themes, which also identified the key findings. Among the findings were that NA students needed more support and engagement with faculty, staff, and administration as they pursued their educational studies at the college. These findings were corroborated in the interview with the college administrator. A solution to the problem was to present the issues, findings, and recommendations to the key stakeholders at the college, delivered through a White Paper. Implications for social change would include NA students persisting and graduating from the local college, which would help NA students obtain employment to better support themselves and their families, as well as help them be role models and leaders within their community.