Retention of English Learner Students at a Community College
With their open admissions policies and comparably aff ordable tuitions, community colleges in the United Students enroll more than half of the nation’s fi rst-time freshmen (FF) (Miller, Pope, & Steinmann, 2005) and more of the nation’s English learners (EL) than four-year institutions (Kuo, 1999). Whereas these two facts alone should make community colleges an important site for research, there is in fact a dearth of studies on community colleges (Townsend, Donaldson, & Wilson, 2005) and even fewer on the ELs who attend them. Perhaps the gap in research is not surprising, as community colleges generally do not require research from faculty and tend to lack funding for institutional research and record keeping (Sylvia, Song, & Waters, 2010). The gap in research is problematic nonetheless, as it allows for a defi cit in knowledge about the eff ectiveness of the colleges’ ability to retain and graduate so many of the nation’s students. The empirical study presented here begins to address the performance of ELs at one community college in the hope that it will generate more inquiry into this area.