Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Second Committee Member

Laura Kohn-Wood

Third Committee Member

Scott Ingold

Fourth Committee Member

Pedro Villarreal III


The number and types of institutions of higher education are rapidly increasing, thus providing students with almost boundless options for higher education pursuits. At this time more than 50% of the regionally accredited, non-profit, four-year universities in the United States are private and the for-profit sector continues to grow. Since 1975 enrollments at private, non-profit institutions have risen from 2.3 to 3.9 million students of which over 335,000 are Hispanic/Latino students. And, for Hispanic/Latino students, graduation rates are highest at private, non-profit institutions where 62.4% of students graduate within 6 years. However, little research on Hispanic/Latino students has been done in this higher education setting where graduation rates are higher when compared to public and for-profit institutions. The current study intended to identify the demographic characteristics of Hispanic/Latino students who are attending regionally accredited, private, non-profit, non-traditional 4-year multi-campus commuter university. It further aimed to examine what factors impact their withdrawal decisions, and what has made private, non-profit institutions more successful in graduating students. In this study, data were collected anonymously through an online survey, which was comprised of a demographic questionnaire, the Family Cohesion scale (Rossman & Way, 1996), and the College Stress Scale (Feldt, 2008). The survey received 219 total responses, of which 202 were complete responses. Results showed that Hispanic/Latino students attending the university are older than traditional aged college students, mostly female, half were born outside the United States, live in Spanish speaking homes, are first generation living in the United States, have caregiver responsibilities for a family member(s), and work full or part time. The majority of respondents intended to remain enrolled in the university. Further analysis showed that student’s intent to withdraw differ depending on age, gender, participant country of origin, and father’s education. No significant relations of family support and college stress to student’s intent to withdraw was found. Information garnered from this study helps the institution to better understand the profile of Hispanic/Latino students attending its campuses. This information can be used to better inform recruitment and retention strategies impacting all operational areas of the university and all phases of the enrollment management cycle. Furthermore this study identified institutional factors that motivated the intent to persist of these Hispanic/Latino students and, by doing so, adds to the limited literature on private, non- profit, non-traditional higher education institutions in the United States. Those institutional factors may be highlighted and strengthened by the university and considered for implementation by others.


Hispanic/Latino; College Students; Retention; Withdrawal; Stress; Family Support