Research Consortium for Belizean Studies

Factors Affecting Student Persistence at a Selected Community College in the Stann Creek District, Belize, Central America

Karen Charlette Martinez, Oklahoma State University


Students encounter many issues that influence their persistence in college; some they come with, others they encounter while enrolled. Factors influencing students' success in college have taken on much interest in recent years. Students' persistence studies have been increasing; however, there is much to be learned about factors influencing college persistence in Belizean junior colleges. No research has been done in the area of student persistence in Belize. Since information in this area is limited, the focus of this research is to investigate whether pre-matriculation and college experience affect student persistence. The purpose of this quantitative, ex post facto research is to find out which factors; student characteristics, precollege factors, financial aid, and college experience, affect student persistence at Stann Creek Ecumenical Junior College. This design was employed to answer the four research questions. The target population consisted of first time, full-time, degree seeking freshmen at Ecumenical Junior College for the school year 2010 to 2011. After obtaining IRB approval, pre-existing data were collected for a total of 148 first year students. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 19. Descriptive (frequencies, means, standard deviations, cross-tabulations) and inferential statistics (linear regression analyses) were utilized to answer the research questions. The three factors found to be predictor of persistence were age, high school GPA, and first semester college GPA; first semester college GPA being the best predictor. Implications derived from study include the need for institutional practitioners and policy makers to focus on strategies to improve educational opportunities to the diverse groups of students who attend community colleges in Belize.