Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


King, Stephanie B.

Committee Member

Davis, James E.

Committee Member

Stumpf, Arthur D.

Committee Member

Wiseman, William M.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect receiving a Pell Grant or not receiving a Pell Grant had on graduation rates at Mississippi community colleges. National averages suggest that Pell Grant recipients graduate at a much lower rate than non-recipients. This proved not to be the case in Mississippi. There were three Mississippi community colleges that participated in this study. The total number of students involved in the study was 3,479. The colleges provided the researcher information on Pell Grant status, gender, and ethnicity (i.e., Caucasian, African American, Hispanic or non-Hispanic, American Indian, Asian, or other). Students were compared based on their Pell Grant status and then combined with their gender and ethnicity as well as the region of the state in which they attended community college. The researcher used a quasi-experimental design for the study. The data gathered allowed for chi-square tests to be performed based on Pell Grant status, gender, and ethnicity. Each test included all 3,479 students involved in the study. The study used an ANOVA to study the effects Pell Grant status had on graduation rates in the different regions of the state. The study found that the differences among graduation rates for Pell Grant recipients and non-recipients are significant for gender and the different regions of the state. The results are not significant for Pell Grant recipients and non-recipients nor are they significant for Pell Grant recipients and non-recipients combined with ethnicity. Mississippi African Americans and Caucasian students graduate at a much higher rate than the national average. This study finds that Mississippi students perform better than the national average when it comes to graduation rates. Considerations for future research are discussed.