International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Ramon Borges-Mendez

Second Reader

Laurie Ross


This paper identifies reasons for attrition and possible solutions to higher retention at the Clemente Course in the Humanities, Worcester (Clemente). Over the last four years, since the re-launch of the Clemente, the retention rate of students completing the program has remained around 50%. Clemente is an alternative, adult education program that provides college level humanities classes to majority low-income, minority adults. In this paper qualitative research methods are used to interview students, professors and an administrator at Clemente. Based upon qualitative research, supported by retention theory, three main reasons for attrition are identified: student academic self-esteem, diversity of student learners and challenges personal student challenges. Possible solutions are provided based upon the reasons identified.





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