Student Satisfaction as a Predictor of Retention in a Professional Online For-Profit Higher Education Institution

February 26, 2017

This study expanded on prior satisfaction and retention research by exploring this relationship within the online for-profit sector.  An ex post facto design was utilized at an online for-profit undergraduate institution with programs in the creative arts to explore the relationship between student satisfaction as measured by the Priorities Survey for Online Learners (PSOL) and subsequent student retention status that was collected one year after completing the survey.  Point-biserial correlation and binary logistic regression tests were conducted on a sample of 2729 students that completed the PSOL and found no significant relationships between overall satisfaction and satisfaction on subscales of the PSOL and subsequent retention status one year later.  These tests were repeated at the item-level and the point-biserial correlation test found no significant relationships.  However, the binary logistic regression test found that three items significantly predicted student retention one year later.  Overall, the study concluded that student satisfaction is not a significant predictor of subsequent student retention.  Implications for practice within the online for-profit sector are discussed.

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration