Date of Award

Winter 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services


Counselor Education and Supervision

Committee Director

Danica G. Hays

Committee Member

Judy McMillan

Committee Member

Alan Schwitzer


In response to the increasing challenge for community colleges to uphold their mission of accessibility with an open door policy, while being held accountable for student success, higher education administrators and counselors need to have a better comprehension on the relationship among community college students, institutional enrollment policies, and academic success. The overall purpose of study was to broaden the understanding of the implications of late registration policy on community college students. Specifically, the purpose was to (1) investigate if there are statistical relationships between the demographics of community college students, registration behaviors, academic outcome, and retention (2) identify possible reasons why students register late; and (3) suggest retention strategies and initiatives to reduce the impact of late enrollment.

Out of the population of 139,149 eligible courses at a multi-campus community college, approximately 9.9% of the courses were enrolled for by late registrants. The sample used in the study consisted of 12,536 late registrants and 12,516 randomly selected regular registrants. The findings suggest that non-traditional students, male students, students of color, and non-curricular students without a stated academic intent were more likely to enroll late for classes.

The result of a MANOVA indicated that there was a significant main effect for registration type for both academic outcome/course grade and retention rate. The regular registrants had mean course grade of 2.22 (SD = 1.568) and a mean retention rate of .72, SD = .451). The late registrants had a mean course grade of 1.81 (SD = 1.607) and a mean retention rate of .60 (SD = .489). Therefore, it may be postulated that students who register late tend to have a lower academic outcomes based on course grade and are less likely to return the subsequent semester resulting in lower retention rates.

The study also identified possible reasons why community college students may register late for classes. The most frequently reported reasons for late registration were related to late decision making on attending college, financial aid processing, lack of awareness regarding the start of classes, failed plans on attending another college, delayed processing in college procedures, habits of procrastination, and family obligations. Based on the findings revealed in the study, recommendations were provided for administrators, counselors, and educators.


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