Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Director

Kim E. Bullington

Committee Member

David F. Ayers


The diversity of higher education institutions is changing, and more post-traditional students, including those associated with the military, are engaging in higher education. Almost every post-secondary institution in the United States has military students. In 2020, $11.5 billion was spent on over 875,000 eligible military students. Military students often prefer online courses at community colleges due to flexibility around their military career, open-access, and affordability.

Yet, few studies examine active military servicemembers alone and, when research is performed, a lack of thorough data collection exists. Therefore, this study focused on active military students in online education in California Community Colleges. It has a significant military presence, offers more online courses, and issues more certificates than any other higher education system, making an ideal place to conduct this initial research.

This study examined student course success between online courses and traditional courses, compared course success of active military to non-military, and compared active military, veteran, and non-military students’ credential earning rates. This quantitative, nonexperimental study used ex post facto from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office’s Management Information Systems DataMart. Data from 2012-2013 until 2018-2019 were collected and analyzed using t-tests and trend analysis implemented as multiple regression.


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