SMU Data Science Review


This paper details ways that North Carolina Community Colleges can improve retention by investigating curriculum completion and success in students’ first year of college. A complete repository of data from community colleges in North Carolina was built for this analysis featuring 1950 variables related to the colleges and their surrounding communities from five main publicly available data sources. Leading factors were identified to help explain why one-third of students in North Carolina community colleges do not return for their second year of college. Our research revealed that racial demographics along with success from educationally at risk, English as a Second Language (ESL) individuals receiving Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA) services are leading factors to predicting retention. Our research uses elastic net regularized regression techniques to determine the feature importance of variables connected to students’ success in their first year of college.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License