Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 4-3-2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


College of Education



Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Libi Shen, Ph.D.

Content Specialist

John D'Aguanno, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Toni Carr, Ed.D.


higher education, persistence, retention, institutional departure model, a model of student motivation and persistence, Lao PDR, Hmong, college student


Student persistence and retention in higher education is a phenomenon that has been studied for years, yielding many theories and frameworks. The purpose of this study was to explore the factors influencing the persistence and retention of Hmong college students in Laos. This study adopted a qualitative method with a single-case study design to explore the experiences of 10 Hmong students who were attending a university in the Lao’s People Democratic Republic (LPDR). Data for the study were collected via individual interviews and reflection journals. The findings of the study showed that there were seven emergent themes that influenced Hmong college students in Laos to persist. The themes were: (a) it was difficult being a Hmong college student, (b) family was a factor that motivated, (c) goal was a motivator to persistence, (d) Hmong students were confident in their abilities, (e) there was a sense of belonging, (f) the curriculum was the top in Laos but a nonfactor, and (g) the professor was their supporter. Based on the results of the study, it was recommended that institutions of higher learning in Laos adopt student support services such as counseling, student mentoring, and goal workshops to support the persistence of Hmong students.