Date of Award




Degree Type

Doctor of Education In Curriculum and Leadership Higher Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Parul Acharya

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Lovelace

Third Advisor

Dr. John McElveen


The purpose of this quantitative correlational research study is to understand the variables of social stratification, academic performance, and academic progress and how those variables affect a student’s decision to drop out of college. The researcher selected participants for this study from the database at a 4-year private HBCU located in the northern part of Jacksonville Florida. Many students enrolled in college encounter outstanding tuition balances that threaten their ability to obtain adequate housing and remain actively enrolled in college. The researcher explored social stratification as measured by high school Title I status, academic performance as measured by overall institutional grade point average, and academic progress as measured by academic standing. The data collection method for the study is from a purposive sampling of undergraduate students from a Title I high school. On a national average, college students and college graduates owe a staggering 1.4 trillion dollars in student loan debt. The public concern about student loan debt has increased; there has also been an increase in the number of college students facing housing insecurities linked to a growing population of homeless individuals in the United States. Consequently, many undergraduate students that attend 4-year colleges still have almost $11,000 in unmet needs after utilizing student loans, grants, and other scholarships. This study will contribute to the literature on the factors that influence retention and progression in college.