Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning


Purpose. Because the number of American Indians attending higher education institutions are increasing every year, there is an apparent need to better understand some of the factors which have an impact on continuing or discontinuing their college educations. As a result, this study was undertaken for the purpose of examining the contributing factors relating to why American Indian students drop out of or graduate from educational programs at the University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Procedure. A questionnaire was constructed and administered to undergraduate American Indian students enrolled at the University of North Dakota between 1970 and 1979 who received Bureau of Indian Affairs financial assistance. The final total sample consisted of 116 students, 71 dropouts and 45 graduates, from the four North Dakota Indian reservations. Two other forms were developed and used to gather data from the University of North Dakota Registrar's office and the Bureau of Indian Affairs Agency Higher Education offices. The data obtained from the three instruments were treated using the chi square and t test techniques to determine significance between dropouts and graduates based on biographical, pre-college, and college factors. The .05 level of significance, or less, was considered sufficient to reject hypothesis of no difference.

Results. Those biographical factors which were found to be significant included age, marital status, and number of dependents.

Those pre-college factors identified as being significant included high school grade point average and American College Testing scores.

Those college factors identified as having significance included college cumulative grade point average, semester hour completion rate, number of semesters enrolled, relevancy of college coursework, career goals, study methods, portions of location of study, time spent studying in various locations, management of financial aids, change in financial aids disbursement, recommendations for financial aids disbursement, type of assistance given to family members, cultural involvement, perceptions of being Indian, students' perceptions of instructor's feelings about ethnic heritage, social activities involvement, perceptions of how social activity affected their educational experience, instructor assistance, and campus and off-campus supportive services.

Conclusions. The major conclusions are based on the statistical treatment of the data gathered for this study: (1)Age at which American Indian students enter college is a factor in their persistence. Older students who were probably more mature were more likely to graduate. (2)High school grade point average and ACT scores were relatively stable predictors of college persistence. (3)Clearly identified career goals which apparently led to the choice of more relevant coursework were factors in American Indian students' persistence in college. (4)The ability to select appropriate methods and locations for study as well as percentage of time spent in studying were factors leading to the success of American Indian students in college. (5)The effective management of financial aids was a skill which contributed to college persistence. (6)A positive self-concept of one's American Indian heritage influenced college success. (7)The use of and satisfaction with campus supportive services were factors which contributed to success in college.