Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Higher Education (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Michael Miller

Committee Member

John Murry

Second Committee Member

Adam Morris


Access, Barriers, Community College, Higher Education, Higher Education Administration, Rural


The purpose for conducting the study was to examine factors related to rural low-income, first generation college students' obstacles to community college enrollment. The study examined barriers students overcame to attend college and focused on rural college students from two community colleges in Missouri and Arkansas. The following questions guided the research:

1.What attendance barriers did rural community college students identify as being most difficult for them to overcome?

2.Were there differences between the self-identified attendance barriers based on gender for male and female rural community college students?

3.Were there differences in attendance barriers for rural community college students based on whether they enrolled immediately out of high school or postponed attendance?

4.Were there differences in attendance barriers for rural community college students based on low-income or first generation classifications?

A purposeful sample was chosen and 170 surveys were collected overall. Results were tabulated using descriptive statistics. The survey results showed that respondents believed their cumulative GPA had a great deal of influence on their decision to enroll at the local, rural community college. Financial aid eligibility and if the student's parents had attended a community college or university also played a major role in their successful enrollment.