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


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Leadership and Foundations


The literature indicates a continuous cycle of difficulties for transfer students, leading to a failure to acclimate, persist, and obtain a degree. The purpose of this study was to examine the effect the Promise Student Support Program (PSSP) had on community college transfer students. More specifically, the study examined the effect of the PSSP on transfer shock, retention, and graduation rates. Two groups were compared: (a) community college transfer students entering the 4-year university as part of the PSSP between 2006 and 2011, and (b) community college transfer students entering the 4-year university between 2006 and 2011 who met the criteria for the PSSP but did not participate. A comparison was made between the 2 groups to determine if significant differences exist between students benefiting from the programming and support of the PSSP and those students without it. The study utilized the quantitative, quasi-experimental study research design. The research was conducted using descriptive statistics to analyze data related to GPA, retention, and graduation rates. Then, an independent sample t-test was administered to assess if statistical differences existed for GPA from transfer GPA to the 1st semester GPA at the 4-year institution between participants and non-participants in the PSSP. Finally, chi-square test of independence was used to determine if there were differences in retention and graduation rates. The findings, as determined by this study, concluded that participants of the PSSP experienced less transfer shock and had higher rates of retention. However, the PSSP showed no effect on graduation rates. This study is expected to provide 4-year institutions clear evidence of the importance of bridging the gap for transfer students, in general, with transitional programs of support.



retention||transfer shock||graduation rates