The Computing Technology in Education doctoral program (DCTE) in the Graduate School of Computer and Information Science (GSCIS) currently realizes an attrition rate of over 60%, a figure nearly double that of similar programs throughout the United States. Each student leaving the program costs the GSCIS $9500 in yearly revenue. When this is extrapolated to the actual number of students from an identifiable sample whom have left the program in the past 12 years, there is no question the GSCIS has lost a significant source of revenue.
Research with this same population has shown that data collected a priori, such as student demographics, learning style, personality type and level of intrinsic motivation, are not predictive of attrition. Researchers have examined this problem at other institutions and suggest factors such as academic difficulties, personal issues and financial reasons are responsible for most attrition but admit that little research has been done to confirm these assertions. This dearth of research is especially problematic when investigating attrition in online learning environments.