Values and the Decision Persist to Graduation at a University in Alaska

Date of Award


Document Type

Restricted Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Leslie Loughmiller, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Sarah Everts, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Ralph Spraker, Ph.D.


University graduation rates concern students, their families, educators, and policy makers. Students attend university, often using borrowed money, expecting to complete a 4-year program. Nationally, about half of incoming first-time freshman have completed a 4-year program in six years. The state of Alaska has the second lowest college graduation rate in the nation, and a University in Alaska has a six-year graduation rate of 17%. There are 10 universal values, and the purpose of this study was to examine how these values influence students from a University in Alaska to either attend the school to graduation, or leave the school without graduating. From a quantitative survey of graduates and nongraduates from a University in Alaska, the researcher determined that graduates were more influenced by the values of self-direction, universalism, benevolence, achievement, and stimulation compared to the nongraduates, who found conformity, self-direction, benevolence, universalism, and tradition to be more influential. The researcher also found that when each of the 10 values were compared individually, nongraduates were more influenced to the decision to leave a University in Alaska without graduating by the values of tradition and conformity, than were students who chose to stay to graduation. The researcher concluded that the graduation rate of a University in Alaska may be improved by greater support for activities that strengthen connections to the University built on the values of tradition and conformity.

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