While the benefits of obtaining an Associate''s degree are evident, students often drop out before obtaining degrees. Because individuals with more education are more likely to be employed than those with less education, student success is a concern for many stakeholder groups. Retention and graduation rates for Cochise College are significantly lower than colleges of similar size, across the country. This qualitative phenomenological study examined relationships between student success and selfdetermination. The study also explored the role of culture and school administration in student success. Expanding upon prior research on student success in 4-year, degree- granting institutions, the study contributed to the theoretical constructs of selfdetermination theory, interactionalist theory, and theory of student involvement. The study findings provide a more clear understanding of factors related to student success and can be used by leaders in the evaluation and creation of courses, programs, and policy that support student success more heartily.