Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rehabilitation (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Glenn B. Anderson

Committee Member

Steven E. Boone

Second Committee Member

Richard T. Roessler

Third Committee Member

Charles E. Stegman


Education, College completion, Deaf, Hard of hearing, Postsecondary, Postsecondary attainment, Postsecondary graduation


It is well documented that attrition in the postsecondary settings for students who are deaf or hard of hearing is greatly due to their academic and communication skills, as well as pre-entry attributes. However there is little evidence that indicates why students who are deaf or hard of hearing are successful in the postsecondary setting. This study tested a hypothesis that demographic, family, psychological and educational variables have a relationship with postsecondary attainment. The variables included in the study were gender, race, math literacy, reading literacy, high school academic setting (public/residential), communication modality (sign language/oral speech), cochlear implant user, parental academic expectation, parental educational attainment, self-determination, self-concept, self-advocacy, and friendship interaction.

This study analyzed a sample of students utilizing existing data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2). The findings from this study supported the hypothesis that demographic, family, psychological and educational variables highly influence postsecondary completion. The only exception was no significant relationship was found between cochlear implant use and high school academic placement with postsecondary attainment.

Findings from this study will help professionals to bridge the gap from research to practice. Results will directly impact how programs approach career planning and advising. Finally, the knowledge from this study will directly impact career planning and career advising as well as inform program development for retention of deaf or hard of hearing students in persistence to graduation.