Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Higher & Adult Education

Committee Chair

Ronald Platt

Committee Member

Karen Kitchens

Committee Member

Stephen A Zanskas

Committee Member

William L Akey


The transformation of higher education through legislation geared to improve outcomes focused on student persistence and college completion rather than student enrollment has forced colleges and universities to re-evaluate the success of all its students, particularly underserved students who have historically faced challenges in completing degrees. The Complete College Act of 2010 (CCTA) was passed into legislation by the Tennessee General Assembly with an emphasis on college completion which tied an outcomes-based funding model to shift the priorities of institutions. This study examined the impact of CCTA on student enrollment, retention, and graduation rates of underserved students attending a state-funded HBCU in the state during four periods: pre-CCTA (2008 – 2010), CCTA launch (2011 – 2013), post-CCTA (2014 – 2016), and CCTA current (2017 – 2019). Three analyses were used to examine the quantitative data. The first analysis was a descriptive profile comparison of the 2019 undergraduate enrollment, ACT composite 25th and 75th percentile scores, and Pell grant awards of the HBCU to the five state-funded universities. The second analysis examined changes over time for the HBCU’s enrollment, ACT scores, and six-year bachelor’s degree completions through a trend analysis from 2008 - 2019. The third analysis examined the differences in enrollment, retention, and graduation of underserved minority students at the HBCU and the five state-funded universities through a test of proportions From statistical analyses of the data, three findings emerged from the data analysis: 1) enrollment of underserved students at the HBCU was impacted over four periods, 2) persistence of underserved students at Tennessee State University was impacted over the four periods, and 3) completion of underserved students at Tennessee State University was impacted over the four periods. The findings indicated that the HBCU had downward trends in enrollment and persistence over the four periods and graduation rates had a downward trend overall with upward trends for underrepresented minorities in contrast to the other five state-funded universities. The findings from this study revealed four implications for practice among policymakers, higher education professionals, outcomes-based funding models, and public policy relative to HBCUs and underserved students.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access