Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Charles S. Hausman

Department Affiliation

Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


This study examined the effect of the NOVA program, a Students Support Services program at Eastern Kentucky University, on academic success for first-generation and low-income college students. An archival database was used to identify differences in the level of academic success among first-year students in the NOVA program from fall-to-fall of their freshmen year compared to non-NOVA students of comparable backgrounds. Additionally, a survey was administered to identify which services provided by NOVA as rated by participating students predict academic success. Results showed that NOVA students have higher cumulative GPAs, retention rates, and percentage of credits earned. Analyses of the survey data show that fall-to-fall retention can be predicted based on NOVA people and services. Several recommendations were made based on the results of the study.