Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Counselor Education


Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Herlihy, Barbara

Second Advisor

Paradise, Louis

Third Advisor

Watson, Zarus


College student persistence has been the central focus of higher education for decades. Specifically, historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have directed their attention to increasing the retention and graduation rates of African American college students. Postsecondary institutions face greater challenges with college student persistence after a major crisis. This study explored college student persistence at a historically Black university ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. Given the devastation caused by the storm, this study examined college students' decisions for continuing their educational pursuits at the historically Black university which is a temporary trailer campus created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The temporary campus has 45 trailers designated for classrooms, science labs, a library, a dining facility, and office space for faculty and staff. Students enrolled for the 2007 Spring Semester (N= 301) were asked to complete the Decisions to Resume Educational Pursuits (DREP) instrument that was designed specifically for this study. Predictor variables including, sex, residence status, Pell Grant status, campus housing status, college grade point average, attendance before Hurricane Katrina, and having parents or another close relative attend SUNO were used to predict educational aspirations, campus environment, and financial aid eligibility status as the reason college students continued their education after Hurricane Katrina. The ANOVA for the regression of educational aspirations revealed that the model predicted an overall significant F (7,241) = 4.824, p < .01 and 10% of the variance in educational aspirations was explained by the model. No significant relationship was found with campus environment. As was the case with educational aspirations, the ANOVA for the regression of financial aid eligibility status revealed that the model predicted an overall significant F (7,241) = 4.309, p < .01 and 9% of the variance in financial aid eligibility was explained by the model. A multiple regression model resulted in a statistically significant relationship for attending SUNO before Hurricane Katrina and educational aspirations. Also, results from multiple regression resulted in a statistically significant relationship for sex and financial aid eligibility, along with a relationship for Pell Grant status and financial aid eligibility status.


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