Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Olinzock, Anthony

Committee Member

Campbell, Charles

Committee Member

Davis, E. James

Committee Member

Stonecypher, Wayne

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Instructional Systems, Leadership and Workforce Development


Between 1994 and 2003, two related concerns were in the educational spotlight. The first concern was participation rates of low income students in higher education. The second was the apparent disparity in Internet usage by low income and other disadvantaged individuals, highlighted in the report Falling Through The Net (United States Department of Commerce, 2000). The purpose of this study is to identify the economic factors and demographic attributes that influence participation of low income students in online distance learning courses offered by a Mississippi community college. This study centers on the hypothesis that there is no statistically significant difference between low income and non low income student participation rates in online distance education courses and that the economic factors, other than income, between low income participates and non low income participants will be statistically similar. Survey data collected from analyzed through the use of logistical regression to determine the relationship of demographic and economic factors to the decision to enroll in future online courses. It was found that students who are older and married are less likely to choose to enroll in future online distance learning courses. Students with higher numbers of courses completed and who paid for college with personal funds are more likely to enroll in future online distance learning courses than those with fewer numbers of distance learning hours completed and those who experience less difficulty traveling to campus are less likely to choose to enroll in future distance learning courses.