This study examined the role of stress in the persistence intentions of nontraditional community college students by surveying 244 students and interviewing 22 students at a single campus of an urban community college in the Southwest. All participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Perceived Stress Scale (Cohen, Kamarck, & Mermelstein, 1983), and the Intention to Leave Questionnaire (DeLuca, 2004). From the survey group, 10 students reporting high levels of perceived stress and high intent to leave college, and 12 students reporting high perceived stress and low intent to leave college were selected for in-depth interviews. Interviews explored the stressors of traditional (ages 18-24) and nontraditional (ages 25 and older) students, compared ways high and low intent to leave college students differentially perceived and coped with stress, and examined participant knowledge and utilization of institutional support services.;Survey results revealed significant differences in perceived stress between high and low intent to leave college students, and between female and male students. No significant differences were found between traditional and nontraditional students on the measure of perceived stress. Stressors for traditional and nontraditional community college students were found to be largely similar and related to external demands. Interviews revealed differences in the ways high and low intent students perceived and managed stress; with low intent students appraising stress as more of a challenge and coping through greater utilization of social support and problem-focused coping strategies, while high intent participants perceived stress as more of a threat and were more likely to report coping deficiencies and greater use of maladaptive strategies. Low intent students were highly committed to completing college despite their stress, whereas high intent students had weak goal commitment and considered leaving college to reduce stress and attend to external demands. Most participants had little knowledge of, or desire to utilize stress support services offered by the community college. The findings suggest the importance of considering appraisals of stress and ways of coping in research on the role of stress in persistence decisions. This study led to the development of eight propositions designed for further testing by community college researchers and practitioners.