Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

Document Type



The purpose of the study was to determine if the allocation of faculty salary expenditures has an influence on first-time, full time freshmen retention rates. The population for this study was all public degree granting undergraduate four-year postsecondary institutions accredited by the Southern Region Education Board in the 16 member states with information reported to the U.S Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System database. An inverse relationship exists between first-time, full time student retention and average undergraduate student age. A model exists to predict student retention rates using the regional comparable wage index to suggest this variable can predict first-time, full-time freshmen retention rates in public four-year universities in the Southern United States. Other financial variables related to faculty salaries are salary and fringe benefit outlays, instructional expenses as a percent of total core expenses, and total amount spent on core institutional expenses but did not create a predictive model for student retention rates. The results of this study found a model exists explaining variance in student retention rates and the non-financial institutional characteristics of total number of undergraduate students, average undergraduate student age, ratio of full time instructional faculty to all employees, percentage of full time male instructional faculty, and percentage of undergraduate male student enrollment combined. As the average undergraduate student age and total number of undergraduate students decreases, student retention rates increase. As the ratio of full time instructional faculty to all employees and percentage of male faculty and undergraduate male students increase, student retention rates increase. As the regional comparable wages increase, the student retention rates increase slightly. Excluded variables include undergraduate student enrollment by race or ethnicity and full time instructional faculty by ethnicity. However, the review of literature indicates student and faculty ethnicity plays an important role in student retention rates, therefore, the model should not be used to improve student retention rates in public four-year universities in the southern United States since this data is excluded. Recommendations for further research include using weighted averages to discover an effective model to improve freshman student retention rates.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kotrlik, Joe W.