A comparison of transfer and native university student persistence to baccalaureate degree attainment

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A comparison of transfer and native university student persistence to baccalaureate degree attainment
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Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
        Page ii
    Dedication
        Page iii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iv
        Page v
    Table of Contents
        Page vi
        Page vii
    List of Tables
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
    Abstract
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Chapter 1. Introduction
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
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    Chapter 2. Review of the literature
        Page 15
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    Chapter 3. Research methodology
        Page 31
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    Chapter 4. Results
        Page 39
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    Chapter 5. Conclusions and recommendations
        Page 78
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    Appendix A. Student involvement questionnaire
        Page 107
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    Appendix B. Analysis of hypothesis two
        Page 113
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    Appendix C. Analysis of hypothesis three
        Page 115
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    References
        Page 118
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
Full Text











A COMPARISON OF TRANSFER AND NATIVE UNIVERSITY STUDENT PERSISTENCE
TO BACCALAUREATE DEGREE ATTAINMENT











By

KENNETH KERWYN LOWMAN























A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY
OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE
DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

1996

































Copyright 1996

by

Kenneth Kerwyn Lowman

































This work is dedicated to all those who read it and find it useful. If this document at
some time assists others in their academic or related pursuits, the process
will have been of even greater value.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


I thank those who have been closest to me during this endeavor. Mary Anne Westphal
has been continually supportive during this project. Without her constant patience, support,

and willingness to review this document, this process might never have been concluded. My

parents and my brother, Ray, deserve thanks for their support and for their continual inquiries

about when this document was going to be completed. They provided a great deal of the

motivation necessary to complete this study. My best friend, Dr. Robert P. Winter, M.D., also

provided another level of motivation for the completion of this project. Also, Chad Elvis

Westphal Lowman, my ever loyal and constant canine companion, deserves credit for his

ability to assist me in keeping this project, and many other things, in perspective.

Dr. James L. Wattenbarger, my committee chairman, has been an inspiration. I regret

that students in the future will not be able to have the benefit of his guidance, perspective, and

wisdom. Over the past several years I have gotten to know Dr. Wattenbarger as a mentor and

as a friend; without question he is a superior person, academician, and social activist.

Throughout this process I have benefitted from his insight and intelligence, his wit, his

concern for others, his professionalism, his perspective, his patience, his sense of history, and

his many other qualities too numerous to list.

Dr. Art Sandeen, Dr. Barbara Keener, Dr. Jim Morgan, Dr. David Honeyman, and Dr.

Jim Hensel have provided me with tremendous support throughout this process. Their insights

and observations have contributed a great deal to this investigation and to my professional

development.

Several individuals provided me with a great deal of support, assistance,

encouragement, and friendship, and for that they deserve special recognition. Dr. Portia

Taylor deserves credit for introducing me to Dr. Wattenbarger and supporting me throughout








the process. Dr. Michael Scicchitano provided me with a great deal of assistance in the

completion of the survey instrument and in conducting the survey itself. Without his

assistance the study would not have been possible. Dr. John Dixon, Dr. Michael A. Williford,

and Dr. David Hellmich provided me with a great deal of assistance in data analysis. Dr.

Patricia Grunder and Dr. Meaghan Brune, my colleagues in the program, provided me with a

great deal of assistance by completing their dissertations before I completed mine. Their

studies were a great asset. Also, Ms. Barbara Smerage, who assisted in the critical finale stages
of this dissertation's construction, and Ms. Pat McGhee, who provided editorial assistance,

deserve a great deal of credit for this document's final form.

I also would like to thank Dr. L. Keith Tennant and the staff and students of the

University of Florida Academic Diving Program. Although my association with the program

may have slowed my completion of this project, I gained a great deal of exceptional

experience through my association with them and with the University of Florida Academic

Diving Program.















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ...........................................................................................

LIST OF TABLES .....................................................................................................

ABSTRACT ...............................................................................................................

CHAPTERS

I INTRODUCTION .....................................................................................

Justification for the Study ........................................................................
Importance of the Problem .......................................................................
Purpose for the Study and Statements of the Hypotheses ..........................
Hypotheses to be Tested ...........................................................................
Lim stations and Delimitations ...................................................................
Definitions of Terms .................................................................................
M methodology ............................................................................................
Sum mary ..................................................................................................

I1 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE .............................................................

Introduction..............................................................................................
Students and Their Institutions ..................................................................
Collegiate Transfer Status and Baccalaureate Degree Attainment ...............
Student Persistence in Postsecondary Education ........................................
Student Involvement Questionnaire ..........................................................
Summ ary ...............................................................................................

III RESEARCH M ETHODOLOGY ................................................................

Introduction .............................................................................................
Purpose of the Study ...............................................................................
Design of the Study ..................................................................................
Population and Sampling ....................... ....................... ..........................
Hypotheses to be Tested ............................................................................
Research Instrum ent ..................................................................................
Procedures ............................................................... ..............................
Treatment of the Data ................................................................................
Statistical Analysis of the Data ...................................................................
Summary ......................................... .........................................................

IV RESULTS ..............................................................................................

Introduction ..............................................................................................
Tests of the Hypotheses ............................... ..............................................









Hypothesis Number One .................................................................... 39
Hypothesis Number Two .................................................................... 41
Hypothesis Number Three .................................................................. 43
Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample .................................................. 48
Student Involvement Questionnaire .......................................................... 68
Summary of the Principal Findings .......................................................... 75

V CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................ 78

Principal Findings ................................................................................... 78
Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample ................................................... 81
Student Involvement Questionnaire .......................................................... 88
SIQ Section One: Social Involvement ............................................... 88
SIQ Section Two: Academic Involvement ...................................... 89
SIQ Section Three: Commitment and Satisfaction ............................... 91
D discussion ............................................................................................... 9 2
C conclusions .............................................................................................. 9 7
Implications of the Study ........................................................................ 103
Recommendations for Further Study ...................................................... 104

APPENDICES

A STUDENT INVOLVEMENT QUESTIONNAIRE .................................... 107

B ANALYSIS OF HYPOTHESIS TWO .......................................................... 113

C ANALYSIS OF HYPOTHESIS THREE ...................................................... 115

R E FE R E N C E S ............................................................................................................. 1 18

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................................................ ............ 124














LIST OF TABLES
Table

1 Analysis of Variance Among Students Who Began Their Postsecondary
Studies at the University of Florida, a Community College, Another
Four Year Institution and Time, as Measured in Total Semesters, to
Baccalaureate Degree Attainment .................................................................. 40
2 Total Semesters Enrolled in Postsecondary Education Prior to
Baccalaureate Graduation Native University Students ........................................ 40

3 Tukey's Studentized Range Test ................................................................... 42

4 Analysis of Covariance Among Students Who Began Their Postsecondary
Studies at the University of Florida, a Community College, Another
Four-Year Institution and Time, as Measured in Total Semesters,
to Baccalaureate Degree Attainm ent ................................................................ 43

5 Factors Contributing to Differences in Time to Degree Among Native
University Students, Community College Transfer Students, Other Four-
Year Institution Transfer Students, and Other Students ...................................... 44

6 General Linear Models Procedure Among Students Who Began Their Post-
Secondary Studies at the University of Florida, a Community College, Another
Four Year Institution and Time, as Measured in Total Semesters, to Baccalaureate
Degree Attainment in Relation to Student Responses on the Involvement
Q questionnaire ..................................................................................................... 4 5

7 Factors Contributing to Differences in Time to Degree Among Native
University Students, Community College Transfer Students, Other
Four-Year Institution Transfer Students, and Other Students ............................ 46

8 Transfer Status of the Total Sam ple ................................................................... 49

9 Mean Number of Semesters from Initial Entry into Postsecondary Education
to Graduation with the Bachelor's Degree Total Sample and by Category .......... 50

10 Mean Number of Semesters From Initial Entry into the University of Florida
to Graduation with the Bachelor's Degree Total Sample and by Category .......... 50

11 Mean Number of Semesters From Passage of All Sections of the CLAST
Exam to Graduation with the Bachelor's Degree Total Sample and by
C atego ry ................................................................................... ......................... 5 1
12 Gender--Total Population and Sample by Transfer Category ............................. 52

13 M ean Age--Total Sample and by Category ........................................................ 52








14 Race--Total Sample and by Transfer Category .................................................. 53

15 Mean Number of Remedial Courses Taken--Total Sample and by Category ...... 54

16 Number of Students who Transferred to the University of Florida with
Postsecondary Degrees--Total Sample and by Category .................................... 55
17 Mean Grade Point Average (GPA) of Students at Graduation with the
Bachelor's Degree--Total Sample and by Category .......................................... 56

18 Mean Reported ACT Score of Students --Total Sample and by Category ......... 56

19 Mean Reported SAT Score of Students--Total Sample and by Category .......... 57

20 Mean Reported Concordance Score of Students--Total Sample and by
C category ......................................................................................................... 5 7

21 Degree Objectives of Total Sample ................................................................... 58

22 Degree Objectives of Native University Student Sample .................................... 59

23 Degree Objectives of Community College Transfer Student Sample ................. 59

24 Degree Objectives of Four-Year College Transfer Student Sample .................... 60

25 Degree Objectives of Other Student Sample ...................................................... 60

26 Where Students Resided for the Majority of Their Tenure at the University
of Florida--Total Sam ple .................................................................................. 6 1

27 With Whom Students Resided for the Majority of Their Tenure at the
University of Florida--Total Sample .................................................................. 62

28 Student's Perception of Impact of Living Arrangements on Their Progress
Toward the Baccalaureate--Total Sample .......................................................... 62

29 Students' Friends and Associates While Attending the University of Florida--
T total S am ple .................................................................................................... 6 3

30 Student's Perception of Impact of Friends and Associates on Their Progress
Toward the Baccalaureate--Total Sample ........................................................ 64

31 How Many of Students' Five Closest Friends Attended the University of
Florida--Total Sam ple .................................................................................... 64

32 Marital Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--Total
S am ple ......................................................................................................... 6 5

33 Number of Students Financially Supporting Others While Attending the
University of Florida--Total Sam ple ................................................................ 65

34 Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida-
T otal S am ple .................................................................................................. 66








35 Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--
Native University Student Sample ..................................................................... 66

36 Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--
Community College Transfer Student Sample .................................................. 67

37 Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--
Four-Year College Transfer Student Sample ................................................... 67

38 Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--
O their Student Sam ple ..................................................................................... 68

39 Mean Hours Participating in Activities Each Week During the Academic
Y ear .............................................................. ................................................ 6 9

40 Weekends Each Month Spent On Campus During the Academic Year ........... 70

41 Number of Times Student Went Out with Friends Each Month During the
A cadem ic Y ear ............................................................................................. 70
42 Number of On Campus Parties Attended Each Month During the Academic
Y ear ............................................................................................................. 7 0

43 Number of Cultural Events Attended During the Academic Year ................. 71

44 Hours Spent Studying for Classes Each Week During the Academic
Y ear .............................................................................................................. 7 1

45 Books Read Other than for Classes During the Academic Year ..................... 72

46 Conversations with University Personnel During the Academic Year to
Discuss Educational and Career Plans, Problems, and Progress ...................... 72

47 Mean Number of Occasions Students Talked to Faculty Members Concerning
Faculty Members' Research or Scholarship During the Academic Year ......... 72

48 Number of Social Encounters With Faculty Members During the Academic
Y ear .............................................................................................................. 7 3

49 Number of Times at the Library During the Academic Year ............................ 73

50 Do You Believe That You Made the Right Choice by Attending the University
of Florida? Percent by Category ...................................................................... 74

51 How Important Was It for You to Graduate from the University of Florida?
Percent by C category ........................................................................................ 74

52 How Important Was It for You to Graduate from any University?
Percent by C category ........................................................................................ 75

53 How Would You Rate the Quality of Your University Instruction?
Percent by C category ........................................................................................ 75














Abstract of a Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

A COMPARISON OF TRANSFER AND NATIVE UNIVERSITY STUDENT PERSISTENCE
TO BACCALAUREATE DEGREE ATTAINMENT

By

Kenneth Kerwyn Lowman

December 1996
Chairman: James L. Wattenbarger
Cochairman: C. Arthur Sandeen
Major Department: Educational Leadership

Florida, like many other states, is faced with the problem of providing opportunities

for participation in postsecondary education with limited fiscal resources to an increasing

number of residents. Time to degree is an important issue because students and institutions

need to be able to plan for educational and related expenses.

The general purpose of this investigation was to study student persistence theory in

relation to the time required for transfer and nontransfer students to attain the bachelor's

degree. This investigation employed an ex post facto design. Following a pilot study, a

random sample of 400 students of the 1,788 students who graduated from the University of

Florida with the bachelor's degree on December 16, 1995, were contacted by telephone and

asked to complete a research instrument.

This investigation found that students who graduated with the bachelor's degree in

December 1995 differed significantly in the time required to obtain that degree when such

students were categorized according to their transfer status. Students who were native to the

University of Florida graduated significantly sooner than transfer students. However, only 8%

of the variance in the model was explained by where students initiated their postsecondary

studies. When demographic variables were included in the model, 82% of the variance in total

postsecondary semesters to the award of the baccalaureate degree was explained by the








model. When subjects' responses to the Student Involvement Questionnaire (SIQ), an

instrument based on Persistence Theory, were included in the model, an additional 2% of the

variance in total postsecondary semesters to the award of the baccalaureate degree was

explained.
A major shortcoming of this investigation was that the sample included only those

students who successfully completed the bachelor's degree. Future studies should look at all

students, particularly those who stopped out along the way, their demographic/experiential

characteristics, SIQ responses relative to time to graduation, or time to withdrawal from

postsecondary studies.














CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Recent studies and commentary indicate that postsecondary students are generally

requiring more than the traditional four years to complete a baccalaureate program (Blanco,

1994; EI-Khawas, 1994; Wilson, 1990). Although the majority of postsecondary students are

requiring more than the traditional four years to complete the baccalaureate degree, students

who transfer from either a community college (Cohen & Brawer, 1989) or between

baccalaureate degree-granting institutions (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; University of

Florida, 1995) generally require more time to complete a baccalaureate degree program than

students who are native to a university. Reports from various states confirm this general trend

(Blanco, 1994). For example, it has been reported that in Florida only 15.9% to 20.4% of

students who met the minimum admissions requirements, and who continued to enroll in the

State University System, graduated within a period of four years (State University System of

Florida, 1994). Also, in Florida 15% of the community college transfer students graduate with

the baccalaureate in four years and 49% graduate after six years (Blanco, 1994; Florida State

Board of Community Colleges, 1993a).

Time to degree has become an important issue for individual and institutional

planning purposes (Knight, 1994). Many problems arise when students extend the amount of

time required to complete the bachelor's degree. These problems are especially burdensome

for public colleges and universities and for state governments. When a student takes longer

than four years to complete a bachelor's degree, there are implications for students,

institutions, and the state that raise fundamental questions about priorities (State of Illinois,

1992). States with growing populations demanding access to higher education are faced with

the dilemma of providing more access with limited fiscal resources. Additionally, since state

governments generally subsidize the cost for students to attend a public college or university,









the longer it takes for students to obtain the bachelor's degree, the more the state must invest

in that student's postsecondary education (Adelman, 1995). State policy makers, generally,

believe that time to degree is an issue because taking more than four years to earn the

baccalaureate degree drains limited resources and restricts access to postsecondary education

(Blanco, 1994).

The general purpose of this investigation was to study the phenomenon of student

persistence to the bachelor's degree in relation to the time required to attain that degree.

Specifically, this study investigated the time required for community college transfer students,

other four-year college transfer students, and native university students to obtain the

baccalaureate degree. This investigation explored whether demographic and experiential

variables contributed to extended student tenure in relation to Tinto's theory of student

persistence (Tinto, 1975, 1987).

Tinto (1975, 1987), who proposed that specific factors contribute to a student's

persistence to obtain the baccalaureate degree, drew on the work of Spady (1971) (Mutter,

1992; Pascarella, Smart, & Ethington, 1986) which was based on Durkheim's (1951) research

on the phenomenon of suicide (Ethington, 1990; Mutter, 1992). Tinto's theory assumes that

persistence is primarily a function of a student's commitment to the institution, to the

institution's goals, and to the student's integration into the social and academic arenas of the

institution (Ethington, 1990). According to Tinto's theory, the probability that a student will

persist to the point of baccalaureate graduation is a function of the degree to which the

student is integrated into the social and academic life of the campus, becomes committed to

the goal of graduation, and gains loyalty to the postsecondary institution (Mutter, 1992).

Extensive research generally has supported the predictive validity of Tinto's model and the

importance of academic and social integration to baccalaureate degree obtainment (Pascarella

et al., 1986).

This study focused on postsecondary students attending the University of Florida,

which is the state's oldest, largest, most comprehensive public university (University of

Florida, 1995b). For the 1993-94 reporting year the University of Florida enrolled 27,286

(17%) undergraduate students (University of Florida, 1995b) out of a total undergraduate









population of 153,851 in the State University System (State University System of Florida,

1995) and awarded 5,644 (18%) baccalaureate degrees in 1993-94 (University of Florida,

1995b) out of the 29,959 awarded by the public universities in Florida (State University

System of Florida, 1995).

The possible relationship between time to degree, student demographic/experiential

variables, and persistence theory was investigated. A State of Florida university was chosen

since recent investigations and commentary indicate that the postsecondary education system

in the state is experiencing critical difficulties in providing postsecondary access to an

increasing population with limited public funds (Pitter, Gitta, & LeMon, 1991). Persistence

theory was selected since the probability that a student will continue to the point of

baccalaureate graduation is, theoretically, a function of the degree to which the student is

integrated into the social and academic life of the campus, becomes committed to the goal of

graduation, and gains loyalty to the postsecondary institution (Mutter, 1992); those factors, in

relation to demographic and experiential variables, may be related to time-to-degree

attainment.

Justification for the Study
Florida, like many other states, is faced with the problem of providing opportunities

for participation in postsecondary education to an increasing number of residents with limited

fiscal resources (Pitter et al., 1991; State of Florida, 1993). This problem is not exclusive to

the State of Florida but is. generally, endemic of all states (Blanco, 1994). Other states may

not be experiencing the same population growth as found in Florida (Bureau of Economic

and Business Research, 1992; Florida Department of Commerce, 1994), but few, if any, states

would profess to possess enough fiscal resources to provide unlimited opportunities to their

residents to participate in higher education. The identification of factors that contribute to a

student's time to degree is becoming as important for policy makers and others as rates of

baccalaureate degree attainment (Brune, 1996). Time to degree is an important issue because

students need to be able to plan for educational expenses and because predicting time to

degree provides important institutional planning information regarding institutional resource

demands (Knight, 1994).









Since Florida, as well as several other states, has adopted a "2+2" structure for

providing higher-education opportunities to its residents (Orfield & Paul, 1992), it is crucial

that investigations be conducted that examine the efficacy of this design. In the "2+2"

configuration for higher education, the majority of students spend their first two years at a

community college and, upon successful completion of the first two years, transfer to a

baccalaureate degree-granting institution. Although not all students in Florida are required to

enroll in a community college, only 12% of high school graduates enroll directly into a

public baccalaureate degree-granting institution following graduation from secondary school

(Orfield & Paul, 1992).

Students who begin their postsecondary education at a two-year institution have been

found to differ from their counterparts attending four-year institutions (Astin, 1977; Cohen

& Brawer, 1989; Peng & Bailey, 1977). Community and junior colleges generally, and

specifically in Florida, were established to provide expanded opportunities for citizens to

continue their education beyond secondary school (Wattenbarger, 1947, 1953). Although

two-year institutions are experiencing greater enrollments (Almanac, 1992, 1994; American

Council on Education, 1993), writers such as Astin (1977), Karabel (1972, 1986) and Brint

and Karabel (1989) have expressed concern that by providing minority and less affluent

students an opportunity to begin postsecondary studies at a community college instead of at a

traditional four-year institution, the community colleges may deter such students from

completing the bachelor's degree. Although all postsecondary students are requiring more

than the traditional four years to complete the baccalaureate degree (Blanco, 1994), students

who transfer from a community college (Cohen & Brawer, 1989) or between four-year

baccalaureate degree-granting institutions (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; University of
Florida, 1995b) often require more time to complete a baccalaureate degree program than

students who are native to a university. Orfield and Paul (1992) concluded that those students

whose initial postsecondary educational experience began at the community/junior college

were less likely to persist to the point of earning the baccalaureate degree than were students

who began their postsecondary education at a four-year institution.









Contemporary research and commentary concerning student enrollment in

community colleges and universities in relation to persistence and to the amount of time

required for baccalaureate attainment is inconclusive (El-Khawas, 1994). This indefiniteness

is especially important in states, such as Florida, that have growing populations (Bureau of

Economic and Business Research, 1992; Florida Department of Commerce, 1994) and that

are heavily dependent upon two-year institutions for providing postsecondary instruction to

their residents.

Students and others concerned with higher education are acutely interested in those

factors that contribute to time to degree for resource allocation and planning. Additionally,

authors have recommended that an investigation be conducted that compares retention and

graduation patterns of transfer students and native university students (Polding & Keener,

1990). This study was required to elucidate the relationship that might exist between

students' status as community college transfers, other four-year transfers as well as native

university students, time to baccalaureate degree attainment in relation to persistence theory,

and salient demographic and experiential variables to address these concerns. This study

adds to the body of literature through an investigation of student transfer status, time to

degree, demographic/experiential factors, and student involvement.

Importance of the Problem
An ever-increasing number of postsecondary students are requiring more than the

traditional four years to earn the baccalaureate degree (Blanco, 1994; El-Khawas, 1994;

Wilson, 1990). Currently, more than 5 million students are attending community colleges

(Almanac, 1994, 1995), and these students require even more time to complete the four-year

degree than is required by traditional four-year students (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). Since,

neither the states nor baccalaureate-seeking students possess unlimited fiscal and temporal

resources, it is important that studies be conducted to determine if, in fact, students are

requiring more than the traditional four years to complete the bachelor's degree. If students

are requiring additional time to obtain the bachelor's degree, then it is of critical importance

to determine what factors are contributing to these extended periods in relation to student

persistence. This concern is of special theoretical and applied importance in states such as









Florida, which possess growing populations (Bureau of Economic and Business Research,

1992; Florida Department of Commerce, 1994) interested in participating in higher education

and with limited fiscal resources that are dependent on the two-year community colleges to

prepare the majority of third-year university students (State University System, 1993). State

policy makers and higher-education officials must have access to as much empirical research

as possible concerning time to baccalaureate degree attainment in order that the best, most

appropriate policies might be implemented.

Purpose for the Study and Statements of the Hypotheses

The general purpose of this investigation was to study student persistence theory

(Tinto, 1975, 1987) in relation to the time required to attain the bachelor's degree and

salient student demographic and experiential variables. Specifically, this study investigated the

time required for community college transfer students, other four-year college transfer

students, and native university students to obtain the baccalaureate degree. This investigation

also explored whether demographic and experiential variables might have contributed to

extended student tenure in relation to Tinto's theory of student persistence (Tinto, 1975,

1987).

Researchers have used baccalaureate-degree attainment as a benchmark into the

efficacy of certain postsecondary institutions. Additionally, postsecondary students

traditionally have been expected to earn the bachelor's degree within four sequential years

from initiation of postsecondary studies. Based on these traditional expectations and current

concerns about postsecondary students requiring more than the traditional four years to earn

the baccalaureate degree (Blanco, 1994), this investigation contained three major purposes.

This study first investigated whether postsecondary students were graduating with the

baccalaureate degree within four sequential academic years (12 semesters) from initial entry

into a two-year or four-year postsecondary institution. This investigation also compared

whether the three primary types of postsecondary students (community college transfer, four-

year transfer, or native university) were graduating with the baccalaureate degree within four

sequential years (12 semesters) of postsecondary entrance. Secondly, this investigation

explored self-reported differences in the background and experiences of community college









transfer, other four-year college transfer, and native university students that may have

contributed to students time to attain the bachelor's degree. Thirdly, this investigation

explored the relationship between variables theoretically associated with student involvement

and persistence to the baccalaureate degree and time-to-bachelor's- degree attainment. Tinto's

theory assumes that persistence is primarily a function of a student's commitment to the

institution, to the institution's goals, and to the student's integration into the social and

academic arenas of the institution (Ethington. 1990). According to Tinto's theory, the

probability that a student will persist to point of baccalaureate graduation is a function of the

degree to which the student is integrated into the social and academic life of the campus,

becomes committed to the goal of graduation, and gains loyalty to the postsecondary

institution (Mutter, 1992). Extensive research generally has supported the predictive validity

of Tinto's model and the importance of academic and social integration to baccalaureate

degree obtainment (Pascarella et al., 1986).

Hypotheses to be Tested
The overall purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the time

required to attain the baccalaureate degree, student persistence to the baccalaureate degree as

described by Tinto (1975, 1987), and personal/experiential variables of individuals who

earned that degree. Subjects for this study were drawn from the oldest, largest, and most

comprehensive publicly supported university in the State of Florida (University of Florida,

1995b). Specifically, the following hypotheses were addressed:

Hol: There is no difference in the time required to attain the baccalaureate degree

among those students who began their postsecondary studies at a two-year

community college, those who transferred between four-year baccalaureate

degree-granting institutions, and those students who began and remained at a

single four-year institution to graduation.
Ho2: There are no differences among community college transfer students, those

students who transferred between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting

institutions and native university students in relation to the time required to









attain the baccalaureate degree when demographic characteristics such as age,

race, marital status, and gender are used as covariants.

Ho3: There are no differences in time required to attain the baccalaureate degree

among those students who transferred from a community/junior college,

transferred between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institutions, and

native university students when demographic characteristics such as age, race,

marital status, and gender and measures of student involvement, as assessed by

the Student Involvement Questionnaire, are included as covariants.

Limitations and Delimitations

The following delimitations and limitations were present in this study:

1. This study was not designed to reveal causal relationships.

2. A portion of this investigation relies on subject self-report. Self-reported data may

be compromised by incomplete recollections, responder bias, and false responses.

3. This study was designed to identify differences in baccalaureate attainment

relying, in part, upon available records from the [Florida] State University System and one of

its component universities. The accuracy of any results from this investigation is dependent

upon how well that individual university and the State of Florida maintained accurate

records.

4. The theoretical basis for the survey component of this study is derived from

Tinto's work (1975, 1987). Although Tinto, his theory, and its applications are well known

and broadly applied, they are not the only theories concerned with student persistence and

degree attainment. Therefore, generalizations of the findings to areas beyond the stated

theoretical framework may be inappropriate.

5. Subjects for this study were drawn from a single State of Florida public university.

Generalizations beyond the study's sample population may be inappropriate.

6. The research was conducted with students who graduated from the University of

Florida in December 1995. Generalizations beyond this period may be inappropriate.









Definition of Terms
For the purposes of this investigation, the following terms were defined:

Community college. junior college, community/unior college, two-year institutions

and two-vear postsecondarv institutions were terms used interchangeably to refer to two-year,

postsecondary educational institutions.

University. senior college, four-year institutions, and four-year postsecondary

institutions were terms used interchangeably to refer to Florida's nine operational public four-

year, postsecondary baccalaureate degree-granting educational institutions.

A native university student referred to an individual whose initial involvement in
postsecondary education occurred through enrollment at one of Florida's nine public

universities. Such students may or may not have attended an academic class for credit or

otherwise at any public two-year institution or any other baccalaureate degree-granting

institution. However, they must have obtained the bachelor's degree from the university of

initial enrollment.

A community college transfer student primarily referred to an individual whose initial

postsecondary experience occurred through enrollment at one of Florida's 28 public

community/junior colleges or at another two-year community/junior college. They should

also have obtained the bachelor's degree from the University of Florida.

A university transfer student and a transfer student from a four-year baccalaureate

deeree-granting institution referred to an individual whose initial involvement in

postsecondary education occurred through enrollment at a university or other four-year

baccalaureate degree-granting institution. Additionally, such students must have been

enrolled in their baccalaureate degree-granting institution for two or more semesters prior to

graduation. Such students may or may not have attended an academic class for credit or

otherwise at any public two-year institution.

ArticulatiQon was used to refer to a systematic coordination between one educational
institution and other educational institutions or agencies that ensure efficient movement of

students among those institutions and agencies while guaranteeing advancement in learning

(Ernst, 1978).









Associate of Arts (AA) degree was used to refer to the two-year degree designed for

transfer to the State University System (Florida State Board of Community Colleges, 1991,

1992a; Florida State Board of Community Colleges, 1992b).

Associate of Science (AS) degree was used to refer to the two-year degree awarded in

those programs not necessarily designed for transfer (Florida State Board of Community

Colleges, 1992b).

CLAST was used to refer to an achievement test that measures selected

communication and mathematics skills adopted by the State [of Florida] Board of Education

that includes four subtests including an essay, English, language skills, reading, and

mathematics skills (Karpis, 1992).

State University System of Florida was used to refer to the coordinating board of the

state system of higher education in Florida that includes nine publicly funded universities.

Stopout was a term used to refer to a student who leaves school for one semester or

more before returning (Garcia, 1994).

Native-American and American-Indian were terms used interchangeably to refer to

any of the aboriginal peoples of the western hemisphere attending postsecondary institutions

of higher education in the United States.

African-American and black were terms used interchangeably to refer to any of the

people who identify themselves as such and who trace their lineage to sub-Sahara Africa and

who are attending postsecondary institutions of higher education in the United States.

Traditionally, these terms refer to American citizens and are used as such hereinafter unless

otherwise noted.

Caucasian and white were terms used interchangeably to refer to any of the people
who trace their lineage to Europe and who are attending postsecondary institutions of higher

education in the United States. Traditionally, these terms refer to American citizens and are

used as such hereinafter unless otherwise noted.

Hispanic was used to refer to people of any race who trace their lineage to any of the
Spanish-speaking peoples of the world and who are attending postsecondary institutions of









higher education in the United States. Traditionally, this term refers to American citizens and

is used as such hereinafter unless otherwise noted.

Minority was used to refer people of any race other than Caucasian in the United

States. Traditionally, this term refers to American citizens and is used as such hereinafter

unless otherwise noted.

College preparatory, compensatory, remedial and developmental education were used

interchangeably to refer to precollege courses in writing (ENC 0020), reading (REA 0010),

arithmetic (MAT 0002), and algebra (MAT 0024) in which students must enroll if they score

below an institutionally established minimum score on a basic skills entry exam (Grunder,

1995).

Baccalaureate attainment was used to refer to the earned four-year degree from any

of Florida's nine operational public universities.

Four sequential years (12 semesters described a time period commencing when a

student initiates postsecondary studies at a community college or university and concluding

four years from that entry date. The provision for 12 semesters in lieu of four years is meant

to accommodate the unique requirements of the State of Florida university system wherein

university students are required to complete at least nine semester credit hours over one or

more summer semesters prior to graduation. It was not necessarily used to describe a period

of continuous, sequential enrollment.

The Student Involvement Questionnaire (SIO) was designed to measure four

components of student involvement including academic involvement, social involvement,

student commitment, and student satisfaction (Williford, 1989). The SIQ used in this study

was adapted and shortened at Ohio University from a more extensive version developed for

the University of Michigan Project Choice (Williford, 1989). The adapted and shortened

version of the SIQ has been used at Ohio University since the mid-1980s for institutional

research (Williford, 1989).

Social involvement (the number of activities and time spent in those activities) was

used to describe the degree to which the student takes part in extracurricular activities (survey

question number 13), participates in cultural events (survey question number 19) and social









events (survey question numbers 15 and 16), and the number of weekends spent on campus

per month (survey question number 14) (Williford, 1989).

Academic involvement was used to describe the degree to which the student took part

in academic activities outside the classroom such as social contacts with faculty (survey

question number 22), spent time studying (survey question number 12), was engaged in

related academic activities (survey question numbers 18 and 23), and participated in

conversations concerning educational plans with an academic advisor, faculty member, or

other staff member ( survey question number 20) (Williford, 1989).

Commitment/satisfaction was used to describe the degree to which the student was
satisfied with the university attended (survey question number 24), rating of the quality of

instruction received (survey question number 27), and the significance the student attributed

to graduating (survey question numbers 25 and 26) (Williford, 1989).

Persistence theory refers to the theoretical postulates of Tinto (1975, 1987)

concerning students' persistence and attrition in higher education.

Methodology
For this investigation only native university students, transfer students from

community college, and other transfer students from four-year colleges who obtained the

baccalaureate degree on December 16, 1995, were included. Data for this investigation were

obtained from students who earned the bachelor's degree from the University of Florida,

which is the state's oldest, largest, and most comprehensive publicly funded state university

(University of Florida, 1995b). Following an initial pilot study, randomly selected students

from the chosen university were contacted by telephone and asked to complete the research

instrument during the third week of November 1995. Randomly selected students were

contacted until a minimum of 400 completed surveys were obtained. Simple random samples

of 322 provide a 95% sampling confidence level for populations of 2,000 or greater (Putt &

Springer, 1989). Four hundred subjects were sought to better ensure that at least 322

complete data sets were obtained. Records containing information on a student's initial status
at entry and upon graduation were requested from the selected university to verify individual

and aggregated subjects' responses.









The research instrument for this investigation was a comprehensive questionnaire that

addressed subjects' postsecondary experiences and included the Student Involvement

Questionnaire (SIQ). Specific questions were designed to reveal pertinent aspects of students'

experiences during their college enrollment. The SIQ is based on Tinto's theory of student

persistence (Tinto 1975; 1987).

Data were first analyzed to determine whether students were requiring four sequential

(12 semesters) or more years to graduate with the baccalaureate degree. Importantly, for this

investigation, time was measured in semesters from initial enrollment in postsecondary studies

until graduation. This time period cannot be construed as equating to semesters of continuous

enrollment nor can it be equated to semester hours earned. The data were then analyzed to

investigate how long two-year community college transfer students, students who transferred

between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institutions, and those students who began

and remained at a single Florida four-year institution to graduation, on average, required to

earn the bachelor's degree.

The variables of student age, gender, race, marital, and employment status during

college; college of enrollment within the university; final grade point average; and other

salient variables then were included in the model as covariants. Comparisons then were made

between students' required time to baccalaureate graduation.

This investigation also explored the relationship between variables theoretically

associated with student persistence to the baccalaureate degree and time to bachelor's degree

attainment. This investigation considered the influence of demographic and experiential

student characteristics such as age, race, marital status, and gender and the influence of

student responses on the Student Involvement Questionnaire in relation to time to degree.

For this analysis student responses were aggregated by the students' transfer or nontransfer

status.

Additional analysis explored the reported demographic and experiential differences

among the samples of community college transfer students, four-year college transfer

students, and native university students. For this analysis simple statistics such as the mean,

standard deviation, and range were reported.









Summary
Postsecondary students generally are requiring more than the traditional four years to
complete a baccalaureate degree program (Blanco, 1994; EI-Khawas, 1994; Wilson, 1990).

Students who transfer to a bachelor's degree-granting institution from a two-year

postsecondary institution (Cohen & Brawer, 1989) or from another baccalaureate degree-

granting institution (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; University of Florida, 1995b) generally

require more time to complete a baccalaureate degree program than do students who are

native to a university. This investigation attempted to reveal what, if any, relationship existed

between the theoretical construct of student persistence, salient demographic, and experiential

variables and students' time to degree. The results of this investigation may be of practical

interest to educational leaders and students in states, such as Florida, that have adopted a two-

tier system of higher-education for planning purposes and may assist students and higher

education policy makers in the formulation of informed choices concerning the investment

of personal and public resources into postsecondary education. Additionally, elucidation of

the hypothesized relationships will assist in gaining a more comprehensive understanding of

the theoretical relationship between persistence theory, demographic/experiential variables,

and time to degree.














CHAPTER II
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Introduction
The majority of students participating in higher education are requiring more than

four years to complete the traditional course of study leading to the bachelor's degree

(Blanco, 1994; EI-Khawas, 1994; Wilson, 1990). Whether a student attends a postsecondary

school in California (Garcia, 1994), Illinois (State of Illinois Report, 1992), Virginia,

Kentucky, North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin (Blanco, 1994), or Florida (Blanco, 1994; State

University System of Florida, 1994) appears to make little difference. The consistent trend

appears to confirm that students are taking more than four years to complete a baccalaureate

program of postsecondary study (Blanco, 1994). Time to degree is an important issue

because it impacts both student and institutional planning and resource allocation (Knight,

1994).

Studies also have shown that community college and other transfer students, in

comparison to native university students, require even more time to complete a baccalaureate

program of study than students who are native to a baccalaureate degree-granting institution

(Cohen & Brawer, 1989; University of Florida, 1995b). Increasing enrollments and increasing

time to graduation place fiscal strains on the colleges and universities, the students, and state

governments (Blanco, 1994) that are likely to increase with more students seeking entrance

into higher education.

Students and Their Institutions
During the 1960s the proportion of 18 to 24 year olds increased due to the "baby

boom," and more people in the college-age cohort wanted to attend college (Cohen & Brawer,

1989). During the 1940s approximately 8% of the high school graduates in the United States

attended some type of college, and by 1995 this number had risen to almost 50% attending









some type of postsecondary institution (Today, 1995). The State of Florida evidences greater

postsecondary participation than is seen nationally. In Florida approximately 63% of high

school graduates enroll in some form of postsecondary studies following high school

graduation (State of Florida Department of Education, 1990).

Nationally, approximately 15 million students are participating in postsecondary

education (Almanac, 1994, 1995) with more than 13 million participating at the

undergraduate level (Almanac, 1995). More than 5 million students enrolled in the two-year

postsecondary institutions (Almanac, 1992, 1994, 1995), and approximately 7,173,000

undergraduate students are enrolled in baccalaureate degree-granting institutions (Almanac,

1995). Increases in college attendance generally, and in community college attendance

specifically, according to Cohen and Brawer (1989), can be attributed to

1. A general expansion in the population,
2. Additional older students,
3. Part-time attendance,
4. Reclassification of institutions,
5. Redefinition of students and courses,
6. High attendance by "low ability" women and minority students, and
7. Aggressive recruitment by community colleges. (p. 31)

More undergraduate students are currently attending four-year institutions than are

attending two-year institutions (Almanac, 1994, 1995). Approximately, 12,323,959

undergraduate students are enrolled in postsecondary education, and of this number

approximately 45%, or 5,565,867, are attending public or private two-year institutions

(Almanac, 1995). Currently 9,103,000 undergraduate students are classified as Caucasian

attending postsecondary institutions, and of this number 44%, or 3,961,000, are attending

two-year institutions (Almanac, 1995). There are 1,288,000 undergraduate students classified

as African-American attending postsecondary institutions, and of this number approximately

47%, or 599,000, are attending two-year institutions (Almanac, 1995).

In 1986, 47% of ethnic minority students enrolled in higher education matriculated

in the community college, including 43% of the African Americans, 55% of the Hispanics,

56% of the Native Americans, and 42% of the Asian Americans (Gabert, 1991). In 1993 47%

of the African Americans, 61% of the Hispanics, 56% of the Native Americans, and 47% of

the Asian Americans participating as undergraduates in higher education were enrolled in









two-year postsecondary institutions (Almanac, 1995). In 1993, minority students comprised

approximately 20% (1,731,000) of total undergraduate enrollments of four-year

postsecondary institutions (Almanac, 1995). Overall, minority students constitute 24% to 27%

of total community college enrollments (Almanac, 1995; Gabert, 1991).

Although community college transfer, four-year college transfer, and native

university students possess many similarities including requiring more time to earn the

baccalaureate degree, they can be distinguished. More than the four-year institutions, the two-

year colleges generally embrace individuals who possess a wide range of abilities, interests,

and aptitudes. The open doors of the community colleges have brought into postsecondary

education many students who previously had been excluded (McCabe, 1981). All students of

limited financial means are more likely to attend the community college than are students

with greater financial resources (Cohen & Brawer, 1989).

Four-year college students generally possess higher high school grade point averages

(GPAs) than do two-year college students; however, this phenomenon is primarily seen in

states where the system of higher education is coordinated and students generally attend the

two-year institution before entering the four-year school (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). In those

states where students are provided equal access to either a two- or a four-year institution, these

differences are not evidenced (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). For those community college

students who do in fact transfer to a four-year institution, many experience a slight drop in

their GPA (Cohen & Brawer, 1989; Karpis, 1992), and those students who transfer with a

degree or with a large number of credits tend to experience less of a drop in grade point

average than those students who transfer with only a few credits (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). In

Florida, 82.2% of students who transferred from a community college to a four-year

institution did so with 60 or more semester hours in 1994 (Florida State Board of Community

Colleges, 1996). However, these Florida community college transfer students, even those with

a large number of transfer hours, did in fact earn slightly lower GPAs (2.84) than did native

university students (2.90) (Florida State Board of Community Colleges, 1996).

In addition to GPAs, Cohen and Brawer (1989, p. 48) reported that on the Omnibus
Personality Inventory, community college students usually score higher in "Practical









Orientation" than do four-year college students. Peng and Bailey (1977) examined the

differences between students who transfer from two-year institutions and those who enroll in

four-year institutions immediately after high school and found that other differences also

exist. Consistent with the findings of Kintzer (1973) and Brinbaum (1970), these investigators

found that in comparison to community college students, native university students tended to

have higher socioeconomic status (SES) scores, higher secondary school grades, and greater

aptitude and educational aspirations and that community/junior college students evidenced

greater participation in nonacademic programs while in high school (Peng & Bailey, 1977).

In comparison to community college students, native university students are more likely to

have graduated from an academic program in high school, have higher self-concepts, and be

more internal in their locus of control (Peng & Bailey, 1977). Peng and Bailey (1977) also

reported that community/junior college students possess lower academic aspirations in

comparison to four-year college students. Community college transfer students additionally

evidence higher scores on work-oriented and family-oriented life goals (Peng & Bailey,

1977). In the western half of the United States there are proportionally more transfers than

native university students at senior institutions (Peng & Bailey, 1977). This finding

corresponds to the upper-division university student population in Florida where 77%

(Belcher & Baldwin, 1991), or 67,416 (Florida State Board of Community Colleges, 1992a)

students, initially enrolled in one of the state's public community colleges prior to enrolling in

one of the state's senior institutions (Belcher & Baldwin, 1991). By fall semester 1994 the

number of upper-division undergraduate students in the state's universities who initially

enrolled in a community college had risen to 76,636 (Florida State Board of Community

Colleges, 1996).

Peng and Bailey (1977) have pointed out that lower SES students may attend
community/junior colleges as a way to cut costs. Since community/junior college transfer

students, in general, have lower scores on ability tests and high school achievement, it is not

unexpected that they also have lower academic achievement in college than native university

students. With lower academic achievement, community/junior college transfer students are

also less likely than native university students to receive scholarships, fellowships, or grants









(Peng & Bailey, 1977). Community/junior college students are generally less financially

secure than are native university students and, because of this, many students at the two-year

institutions are often required to devote less time to their academic studies and more time to

earning enough money to stay in school.

Alexander, Holupka, and Pallas (1987) investigated two national student cohorts

separated by approximately 10 years. One cohort consisted of high school graduates from

1972 and the other cohort consisted of high school graduates from 1980. African-American

students in these cohorts were more likely to begin their postsecondary education at a four-

year institution than at a community/junior college than were either Caucasian or Hispanic

students (Alexander et al., 1987). According to Alexander et al. (1987), the only minority

group that appeared in any way to be overrepresented in the community/junior college was

the Hispanic student. According to Gabert (1991), 55% of all Hispanic students in higher

education are enrolled in the community/junior college. Native Americans also evidence

greater enrollment in the community/junior college than in the traditional four-year

institutions. Of Native Americans participating in higher education, fully 56% are enrolled in

the community/junior college (Gabert, 1991). As pointed out by Tinto (1973), high-ability

high school students would attend college whether an institution was located in proximity or

at some distance. However, "lower-ability persons" are more likely to participate in

postsecondary instruction when a public two-year institution is located nearby (Tinto, 1973,

p. 292).

Although there appear to be differences in aggregate comparisons of four-year and
two-year postsecondary students, the results of the 1986 Center for the Study of Community

Colleges investigation (Astin, 1988) found that students attending community college were

generally similar to their four-year counterparts with respect to motivation for participating in

postsecondary education. At the community/junior college 77% of the first-year students

reported that they were there to earn more money, and 70% of the senior institution students

responded in the same manner (Astin, 1988). Astin, Kem and Berz (1991) reported that

students' reasons for attending college are similar whether the students were enrolled in a two-

year or a four-year postsecondary institution. Of community college students, 36% were









seeking transfer, 34% were seeking job entry skills, 16% were seeking to upgrade their job-

related skills, and 15% were attending for personal interest (Center for the Study of

Community Colleges, 1986). Another study, conducted for the Carnegie Foundation for the

Advancement of Teaching, found that nationally 36% of community college students were

seeking transfer, 50% were enrolled to acquire or update job skills, and 14% were attending

for personal interest or to improve their basic math, English, or reading skills (Commission on

the Future of Community Colleges, 1988). A 1988 study by Astin found that 86% of

entering community college students were there to get a better job, and 81% of the first-year

senior institution students responded similarly (Astin, 1988).

The number of students between the ages of 18 and 24 entering postsecondary

education has declined (Brune, 1996). In 1994 approximately 43% of the college population

was 25 or older and the number over 30 more than doubled between 1974 and 1994

(O'Connor, 1994). Traditionally, the community college attracted students who either

attended part time, were older, were working, or had other obligations that prevented them

from attending a postsecondary institution in a traditional manner. Currently, the community

colleges are attracting more students between the ages of 18 and 24 who might otherwise have

attended a four-year institution (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). Collison (1991) stated that low cost.

convenience, and better teaching are the primary reasons that these students are investigating

and attending community colleges. Others have found that students begin postsecondary

studies at a community college because of the two-year institution's location, the opportunity

to live at home, ease of gaining admission to a [Florida] university as a transfer student and to

see how well they did in postsecondary studies and to improve basic skills (Polding & Keener,

1990). But, even four-year institutions are attracting older students (O'Connor, 1994) and

part-time students (Tinto, 1993). Although the community/junior college attracts many
students who would have been precluded from participating in postsecondary education if not

for the two-year institutions (McCabe, 1981), the two-year institutions are enrolling more of

the same students who might have otherwise attended a four-year institution.

It, therefore, appears that students who initiate their postsecondary careers at a

community college can be distinguished from those who begin such studies at a university.









However, since the 1970s a general trend has developed wherein postsecondary students,

whether they initiate their studies at a two-year institution or at a four-year institution, are

becoming more similar. One of the greatest similarities among all students is that they are

requiring more time to complete a baccalaureate program of study.

Collegiate Transfer Status and Baccalaureate Degree Attainment
Citing numerous studies, Pascarella and Terenzini (1991) reported that students who

begin their postsecondary studies at a two-year institution are less likely to attain the

bachelor's degree. Astin (1977) expressed concern that community college attendance was

detrimental to students who graduated in the top 20% of their high school class, since these

high-ability students were apparently reducing the probability that they would earn a

bachelor's degree by first attending a two-year college. More recently, it has been reported

that students whose initial postsecondary educational experience began at the

community/junior college are less likely to obtain the baccalaureate degree than are students

who began their postsecondary education at a four-year institution (Orfield & Paul, 1992).

Lending additional support to these concerns, the American Association of
Community and Junior Colleges reported that between 1963 and 1973 there was a relatively

constant ratio of 2.4 freshmen for every second-year student; by 1980 the number of

students completing their second year had decreased to less than one in five (Cohen &

Brawer, 1989). Reasons for this change are many and include the number of students who are

taking a course or two for their own interest, more one-year certificate programs, and the

community/junior colleges assuming responsibility for adult and compensatory education

(Cohen & Brawer, 1989). According to Astin (1977), even when controlling for social

background, ability, and motivation, students who begin their studies at a community college

are less likely to persist to the point of receiving the bachelor's degree. Similar patterns of
persistence and degree completion are evidenced by four-year college students as well.

During 1992, completion rates at private baccalaureate degree-granting institutions ranged
from 55. 3% to 82.3% while completion rates at selective public institutions ranged from

45.1% to 66.2% (Tinto, 1993). In an investigation of the National Longitudinal Study of the

Class of 1972, Hill and Owings (1986) found that 51% of subjects took more than four years









from high school graduation to completion of the bachelor's degree, and 24% required six,

seven, or more years. Tinto (1993) reported that only 50.2% of all full-time four-year college

entrants obtained the baccalaureate within a five-year period from initial enrollment.

However, any study of dropouts, if it is to be valid, must consider student commitment (Tinto,

1975). Most studies analyzing persistence in college have found that personal factors are

much more important than institutional factors, and persistence is much more goal related

than it is demographic (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). It is, therefore, reasonable, because of the

theoretical association between "dropping out" and stopping out" and the impact of both

these phenomena on time to degree, that studies of time to degree must consider student

commitment, personal factors, and demographics if they are to be valid.

Astin (1988) stated that 80% of entering first-time, full-time community college

students indicate that they desired eventually to obtain a bachelor's degree. However, when all

community college students are considered, numerous studies revealed that only about 33%

of the community/junior college students actually report a desire to obtain the bachelor's

degree (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). Although it is difficult to establish overall transfer rates, it

appears that approximately 12% to 13% of total number of community college students

transfer to baccalaureate degree-granting institutions (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). For those

students who state that transfer is their primary reason for attending the community college,

approximately 36% do, in fact, transfer (Cohen & Brawer, 1989).

The failure of many community college students to transfer to senior institutions and
then to obtain the bachelor's degree has been attributed to a number of factors. Attrition is

one of the greatest hurdles community college students must negotiate toward bachelor's

degree attainment (Best & Gehring, 1993). Admissions, financial aid paperwork, and

conflicts between university policies and advisement from community college counselors also

have been reported to result in difficulties in transferring from a two-year postsecondary

institution to a baccalaureate degree-granting institution (Polding & Keener, 1990).

Polding and Keener (1990) reported that community college transfer students ranked
the instruction they received at the community college slightly lower than the instruction they

received at the university level. Others have asserted that instruction at the community









colleges is significantly less rigorous than at the four-year institutions (Peterson, 1993). At the

community/junior college, remediation has become important and instructors no longer

believe it is their function to provide university-equivalent instruction (London, 1983).

Community/junior college students believe that they do not possess the ability to enroll

successfully in senior institutions since their self-image is negatively impacted by lower

expectations at the community/junior college (London, 1983; Weis, 1985).

As pointed out by Wattenbarger (1983), however, a fundamental and accepted

mission of community colleges in the United States has been to provide educational

opportunity for all citizens. The goals for the community colleges in light of this mission

include providing a diversity of programs that attract students in all categories, concurrently

responding to labor force needs and to student interests, assuring students low cost and

accessible colleges in which to advance their education, overcoming deficiencies in basic skills

so that students may fulfill their potential, providing adequate support services to enable

students to succeed, recognizing that an increasing percentage of college enrollments will be

made up of part-time and intermittent students, and accepting education as a lifelong need

(Wattenbarger, 1983). Community colleges are, therefore, more than institutions designed

only to facilitate the movement of second-year postsecondary students to baccalaureate

degree-granting institutions. Comprehensive community colleges provide students with a

variety of opportunities that may pull them away from the pursuit of the baccalaureate

degree. This is especially true when it is considered that many two-year community college

programs enable graduates to earn greater levels of compensation than are received by

holders of the baccalaureate degree (Judd, 1989). Therefore, asking first-year community

college students if their ultimate goal is the acquisition of the bachelor's degree before they

have had an opportunity to explore the two-year colleges' many offerings and then to use

those responses to impugn the community colleges for not preparing students for

baccalaureate transfer may be inappropriate. Studies that profess to investigate students'

transfer or nontransfer status in relation to successful, timely outcomes must employ objective

student indices of commitment to earn the baccalaureate degree.









Whether students initiate their college career at a community college, a four-year

college, or a university, all postsecondary students generally are requiring more time to

complete a four-year degree (Blanco, 1994; EI-Khawas, 1994). Requiring more than four

years to complete a four-year degree has been attributed to a number of factors. Stopping out

has been shown to increase the time required to obtain the bachelor's degree for transfer and

native university students (Garcia, 1994). Changing college major, the inability to enroll in

required courses, and other factors are related to taking more than the required number of

credit hours for graduation and thereby increasing the time required to earn the baccalaureate

degree (University of Florida, 1995a).

This is especially important for states with two-tier postsecondary education systems

such as Florida. In Florida, for example, 63% of high school graduates enroll in some form

of postsecondary instruction (State of Florida, 1990). Also, in Florida 77% of all students in

upper division and 50% of all students at the state's public universities initially enroll in one

of the state's community colleges (Belcher & Baldwin, 1991). In fall 1992, 14,583 students

from the state's community colleges transferred to a state university (State University System

of Florida, 1994). Karpis (1992) reported that community college transfer students in the

state's universities increased from 36,075 in 1980 to more than 65,000 in 1988. By fall term

1994 the number of community college transfer students enrolled in the state's universities in

the upper division of undergraduate studies had increased to 76,636 (Florida State Board of

Community Colleges, 1996).

Approximately 12% of Florida's high school graduates are able to enroll directly in a
public university (Orfield & Paul, 1992), which requires the remaining majority of secondary

school graduates who continue their studies beyond high school to enroll in one of the state's

community colleges. This necessarily includes the majority of students who may desire to

earn the baccalaureate degree. Currently, approximately 77% of baccalaureate students in

Florida's public universities received their initial preparation at a community college (Belcher

& Baldwin, 1991).

Students in Florida's community colleges enroll for many different reasons. Morrims
and Brann (1993) have called for a study to evaluate the effectiveness of Florida's community









colleges that addresses the variety of student educational goals. Polding and Keener (1990)

have called for an investigation that compares retention and graduation patterns of transfer

students and native university students. Therefore, investigations that employ objective indices

of a student's intent to earn the baccalaureate degree and that consider student commitment

as well as personal and demographic factors are required to assesses whether community

college students generally, and specifically, in Florida are being provided with an opportunity

equivalent to that provided to native university students to earn the baccalaureate degree

within four years, should they choose to pursue that degree.

Student Persistence in Postsecondary Education

Recent studies and commentary indicate that postsecondary students are generally

requiring more than the traditional four years to complete a baccalaureate program (Blanco,

1994; EI-Khawas, 1994; Wilson, 1990). Currently, demographic projections and research on

student persistence and retention indicate that baccalaureate graduation within four years

from the onset of postsecondary studies is no longer the normal pattern (Brune, 1996).

Although the majority of postsecondary students are requiring more than the traditional four

years to complete the baccalaureate degree, students who transfer from a community college

generally require more time to complete a baccalaureate degree program than students who

are native to a university (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). Reports from various states confirm this

general trend (Blanco, 1994). For example, it has been reported that in Florida only 15.9% to

20.4% of students who met the minimum admission requirements and who continue to enroll

in the State University System graduate within a period of four years (State University System

of Florida, 1994). Also, in Florida 15% of the community college transfer students graduate

with the baccalaureate in four years and 49% graduate after six years (Florida State Board of

Community Colleges, 1993a).

Many studies have investigated factors that contribute to baccalaureate degree

attainment within four years. High standardized test scores, such as SAT and ACT scores, have

been found to be related to baccalaureate graduation within four to five years (Gosman,

Dandridge, Nettles, & Thoeny, 1983; Knight, 1994). Maintaining a high grade point average

also has been found to contribute to timely graduation (Knight, 1994; Thomas, 1981).









Majoring in the social sciences or math also has been found to contribute to timely

graduation, whereas majoring in business or engineering has not (Hill & Owings, 1986).

Student characteristics such as a desire to complete the bachelor's degree, academic progress,

course and major selection, employment status, full- or part-time college attendance and

enhanced education all have been associated with student attainment of the bachelor's degree

within four to five years (KPMG Peat Marwick, 1989). It also has been suggested that

academic preparation, institutional selectivity, personal finances, continuous enrollment,

completion of courses, changing degree or major, and post-graduation plans contribute to

time to degree (State of Illinois, State Board of Higher Education, 1992). Student age has

been found to contribute both to timely baccalaureate attainment (Garcia, 1994) and to

extended time to graduation (Knight, 1994). Institutions that have moved away from a

structured curriculum to a more unstructured course offering generally have students taking

more courses that do not contribute to timely baccalaureate graduation (Brune, 1996).

Tinto (1975) proposed that specific factors contribute to student persistence to obtain

the baccalaureate degree. Tinto (1975. 1987) drew on the work of Spady (1971) (Mutter,

1992; Pascarella et al., 1986) which was based on Durkheim's (1951) research on the

phenomenon of suicide (Mutter, 1992; Ethington, 1990). Tinto's theory assumes that

persistence is primarily a function of student commitment to the institution, the institution's

goals and the student's integration into the social and academic arenas of the institution

(Ethington, 1990). According to Tinto's theory, the probability that a student will persist to

the point of baccalaureate graduation is a function of the degree to which the student is

integrated into the social and academic life of the campus, becomes committed to the goal of

graduation, and gains loyalty to the postsecondary institution (Mutter, 1992). Extensive

research generally has supported the predictive validity of Tinto's model and the importance

of academic and social integration to baccalaureate degree obtainment (Pascarella et al.,

1986).

In Tinto's theory, the more a student is integrated into the social and academic life of

the campus and develops loyalty to the institution, the greater are the chances that the student

will persist to graduation (Mutter, 1992). Tinto (1975) proposed that dropouts arise from an









inadequate fit between the student and the institution (Dougherty, 1991). The student's

decision to drop out most directly results from the decision to leave a specific college or from

the decision not to obtain the bachelor's degree (Dougherty, 1991). Both poor social

integration and poor academic integration precipitate the decision to withdraw (Dougherty,

1991).

Research indicates that residential college students develop in ways that are

unattainable by commuter students (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). Students' social

involvement is one of the most powerful ways that residential colleges enhance persistence to

degree completion (Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). Community colleges are "strictly" for

commuters; therefore, the student social life is off-campus, where the pressure to drop out is

greater (Peterson, 1993, p. 4). Community college students have been reported to be less

likely to become involved in campus activities and be less familiar with faculty than native

university, students, which may negatively impact their persistence to baccalaureate degree

completion (Astin, 1977). This decreased likelihood of involvement with campus

organizations and faculty is important because such relationships may be related to desirable

student outcomes (Polding & Keener, 1990). However, Friedlander and MacDougall (1991)

stated that traditional student development theory defines student involvement as the amount

of physical and psychological energy that a student devotes to the academic experience.

Research on student involvement conducted at community/junior colleges and universities has

shown that the quality of time spent is a more important factor in explaining student

achievement than total amount of time spent on campus (Boyer, 1987; Friedlander &

MacDougall, 1991). Student involvement theory includes the concept of education as a

partnership between the institution and the student, with both expected to fulfill their

respective responsibilities (Friedlander & MacDougall, 1991). Interestingly, however, studies

have yet to be conducted which explore the potential relationship that exists between

persistence theory and the time required to complete the bachelor's degree.

In states such as Florida, which possess a growing population (Bureau of Economic
and Business Research, 1992; Florida Department of Commerce, 1994) and finite fiscal

resources, it is of special importance that investigations be conducted that evaluate the









efficacy of the state's "2+2" system of higher education. Generally, students are requiring

more than the traditional four years to complete a baccalaureate program (Blanco, 1994; El-

Khawas, 1994; Wilson, 1990). Florida reflects this national trend (State University System of

Florida, 1994). Although all students are taking more time to complete the bachelor's degree,

transfer students require even more time to complete a bachelor's degree program than do

native university students (Cohen & Brawer, 1989; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; University

of Florida, 1995a). The State of Florida depends on the community/junior colleges to prepare

the majority of its third-year university students (State University System of Florida, 1993a),

and 77% of the total baccalaureate student population had its initial preparation at the

community college (Belcher & Baldwin, 1991). Therefore, studies must be conducted into the

efficacy of the "2+2" system of postsecondary instruction if Florida, or any other state that

has adopted this configuration, is to provide its residents with the most efficient and fiscally

responsible baccalaureate educational opportunity possible. Such an investigation, if it is to

be complete, must take into consideration students' objective indication of intent to obtain the

bachelor's degree and must consider students' demographic/experiential characteristics as

well as theoretical factors that might influence the time required to attain the baccalaureate

degree.

Student Involvement Questionnaire
The Student Involvement Questionnaire (SIQ) was designed to measure the constructs

of academic involvement, social involvement and involvement in activities, and student

commitment and satisfaction (Williford, 1989) which, in accordance with Tinto's theory

(1975, 1987), are thought to be related to student persistence. The SIQ was adapted at Ohio

University from a more extensive questionnaire developed and tested by the University of

Michigan Project Choice (Williford, 1989), which was designed to examine the relationship

between academic/social integration and student attrition (Johnson, 1980; Williford, 1989).

The SIQ was adapted to assess the relationship between academic involvement, social

involvement, and commitment/satisfaction in relation to academic outcomes. The SIQ in its

original and adapted forms has been used at Ohio University since the mid-1980s to improve









student retention. Tests have shown that the SIQ possesses moderate to high estimates of

reliability (Williford, 1989).

The SIQ was tested and found to possess predictive validity of the theoretical model

of the college withdrawal process across 11 different types of postsecondary institutions using

a sample of 2,326 students (Pascarella, 1982). An extensive test of the SIQ revealed that (a)

various measures of Tinto's concepts explained significant increments in the variance in first

year students' decisions to voluntary persist and withdraw from postsecondary studies; (b) the

relationships between the constructs of social and academic involvement, commitment to the

institution and commitment to graduation in relation to persistence were more theoretically

consistent within residential and liberal arts samples than within two- and four-year commuter

samples; and (c) the addition of the cross-product terms which assessed the differential

influence of social and academic involvement into the prediction equation resulted in

significant increases in the explained variance in persistence/withdrawal decisions (Pascarella,

1982).

Summary
The literature reveals that community college transfer students, other four-year

transfer students, and native university students can be distinguished (Cohen & Brawer, 1989;

Peng & Bailey, 1977). However, over the past 20 years baccalaureate students who begin their

postsecondary studies at a community college and those who begin at a university are

becoming more similar (Cohen & Brawer, 1989; O'Connor, 1994; Tinto, 1993).

Contemporary studies and commentary addressing transfer and native university students with

respect to their academic aspirations and accomplishments, however, are often contradictory.

Different sources report conflicting percentages of individuals aspiring to attain the bachelor's

degree and different percentages of students who complete that degree. However, one

consistent finding across different categories of students is that once the student decides to

pursue the baccalaureate degree, postsecondary students are requiring more than the

traditional four years to complete the baccalaureate degree (Blanco, 1994; El-Khawas, 1994;

Wilson, 1990).







30

Student characteristics are important factors in predicting time to baccalaureate

degree attainment (Brune, 1996). To date, there have not been any published studies which

employ an objective criterion to assess a student's desire to actually earn the baccalaureate

degree and to assess time to baccalaureate degree attainment relative to demographic/

experiential characteristics and theoretically salient variables of student involvement and

persistence. Polding and Keener (1990) have called for an investigation that compares

retention and graduation patterns of transfer students and native university students. This

study contributed to the body of literature by employing an objective index of student intent

to earn the baccalaureate degree and student commitment, personal and demographic factors

to assess whether community college students generally, and specifically, in Florida were

being provided with an opportunity equivalent to the opportunity provided to native

university students to earn the baccalaureate degree within four years, should they choose to

pursue that degree.














CHAPTER III
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

Introduction
In this chapter the investigative methodology presented in Chapter I will be addressed

in greater detail. The chapter is constructed according to the methodological subtopics of

purpose of the study, design of the study, population and sampling, hypotheses to be tested,

research instrument, procedures, treatment of the data, and statistical analysis of the data.

Purpose of the Study
Baccalaureate degree attainment has been used as a benchmark for research into the

efficacy of many postsecondary institutions. But, time to degree has become an increasingly

important issue for individual and institutional planning purposes (Knight, 1994).

Additionally, postsecondary students have traditionally been expected to earn the bachelor's

degree within four sequential years from the initiation of their postsecondary studies. Based

on these traditional expectations and current concerns about postsecondary students requiring

more than the traditional four years to earn the baccalaureate degree (Blanco, 1994), this

investigation.contained three major purposes. This study first investigated whether

postsecondary baccalaureate students were graduating with the bachelor's degree within four

sequential academic years (12 semesters) from their initial entry into a two-year or four-year

postsecondary institution. This investigation also compared whether the three primary types

of postsecondary students (community college transfer, four-year transfer, or native

university) were graduating with the baccalaureate degree within four sequential years (12

semesters) of postsecondary entrance. Second, this investigation explored self-reported

differences in the background and experiences of community college transfer, other four-

year college transfer, and native university students that may have contributed to the students'

time to attain the bachelor's degree. Third, this investigation explored the relationship between









variables that, according to Tinto (1975, 1987), are theoretically associated with student

persistence to the baccalaureate degree.

Students at two-year colleges differ in many respects from their counterparts at four-
year institutions (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). Four-year college transfer students differ from

community college students in that they began their postsecondary studies at a baccalaureate

degree-granting institution. Four-year college transfer students also differ from native

university students by definition since they transferred from one baccalaureate degree-

granting institution to another. Earlier investigations have studied time to baccalaureate

degree attainment in relation to where the student initially began postsecondary studies

(Orfield & Paul, 1992). Other studies have investigated the differences among transfer and

nontransfer baccalaureate students (Pascarella & Terenzeni, 1991). To date, no other

investigations have explored the relationship between student demographic and experiential

variables, students transfer or nontransfer status, and persistence theory in relation to time to

baccalaureate degree attainment. It is especially important that such investigations be

conducted in Florida, where the two-tiered, articulated system of higher education was

designed to assist students complete their formal postsecondary education in an efficient

manner (Wattenbarger, 1983).

A primary consideration for this investigation revolved around the relationship
between persistence theory (Tinto 1975, 1987) and students' self-reported collegiate

experiences in relation to time required to attain the bachelor's degree. This investigation

explored differences in the reported experiences of community college transfer students,

four-year transfer students, and native university students that may have been related to length

of time required for a student to attain the bachelor's degree. This was accomplished through

the administration the Student Involvement Questionnaire which is based on persistence

theory as described by Tinto (1975, 1987).

Elucidation of the hypothesized relationships will assist in gaining a more

comprehensive understanding of theoretical relationship between persistence theory,

demographic/experiential variables, and time to degree. The results of this investigation also









may assist students and higher-education policy makers to make informed choices

concerning the investment of personal and public resources.

Design of the Study
The primary variables of interest in this investigation were attributional and could not

be manipulated. This investigation, therefore, employed an ex post facto design, which is

appropriate when variations in the independent variables already have been determined

naturally (Ary, Jacobs, & Razavich, 1979; Kaliszeski, 1986). Ex post facto designs are

appropriate where the population's variables cannot, realistically, be manipulated (Grunder,

1995; Smith & Glass, 1987). Also, such designs are especially appropriate in educational

settings where the variables ethically cannot be manipulated. Causal relationships cannot be

identified through ex post facto designs (Ary et al., 1979; Kaliszeski, 1986).

Population and Sampling
Only students from the University of Florida were selected for inclusion in this

investigation. The University of Florida is the state's oldest, largest, and most comprehensive

publicly supported university (University of Florida, 1995b). For the 1993-94 reporting year,

the University of Florida enrolled 27,286 (17%) undergraduate students (University of

Florida, 1995b) out of a total undergraduate population of 153,851 in the State University

System (State University System of Florida, 1995) and awarded 5,644 (18%) baccalaureate

degrees in 1993-94 (University of Florida 1995b) out of the 29,959 awarded by Florida's

public universities (State University System of Florida, 1995).

The population of interest for this study was the 1,788 students who graduated with
the baccalaureate degree from the University of Florida on December 16, 1995. Students for

the sample were randomly selected and contacted by telephone during the third week of

November 1995 until 400 complete surveys were obtained. A random sample of 322 subjects

provides a sampling confidence level of 95% for population sizes of 2,000 (Putt & Springer,

1989). A sample size of 400 was selected for this investigation to ensure that at least 322

complete and useable data sets were obtained.









Hvyotheses to be Tested
The overall purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between the time

required to attain the baccalaureate degree, student persistence, as described by Tinto (1975,

1987), to the baccalaureate degree and demographic/experiential variables of individuals who

earned the baccalaureate degree. Subjects for this study were drawn from Florida's oldest,

largest and most comprehensive publicly supported university (University of Florida, 1995b).

Specifically, the following hypotheses were addressed:

Hol: There is no difference in the time required to attain the baccalaureate degree

among students who began their postsecondary studies at a two-year

community college, those students who transferred between four-year

baccalaureate degree-granting institutions, and those students who began and

remained at a single four-year institution to graduation.

Ho2: There are no differences among community college transfer students, those

students who transferred between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting

institutions, and native university students in relation to the time required to

attain the baccalaureate degree when demographic characteristics such as age,

race, marital status, and gender are used as covariants.

Ho3: There are no differences in time required to attain the baccalaureate degree

among those students who transferred from a community/junior college,

transferred between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institutions, and

native university students when demographic characteristics such as age, race,

marital status, and gender and measures of student involvement, as assessed by

the Student Involvement Questionnaire, are included as covariants.

Research Instrument
The primary component of the research instrument for this investigation was the SIQ.

The SIQ is based on Tinto's theory (1975, 1987) of student persistence (Williford, 1989), and

its adaptations were designed to measure the constructs of academic involvement, social

involvement, involvement in activities, and student commitment and satisfaction (Williford,

1989). These constructs, in accordance with Tinto's theory (1973, 1987), are thought to be









theoretically related to student persistence to baccalaureate degree attainment. The latest
version of the SIQ was adapted from a more lengthy questionnaire developed and tested by

the University of Michigan Project Choice (Williford, 1989), which was designed to examine

the relationship between academic/social integration and student attrition (Johnson, 1980;

Williford, 1989). The SIQ has been used successfully at Ohio University since the mid-1980s

to assess the relationship between academic involvement, social involvement, involvement in

activities, and commitment/satisfaction to student retention to academic outcomes. Tests have

shown that the SIQ possesses moderate to high estimates of reliability (Williford, 1989).

The SIQ was tested and found to possess predictive validity of the theoretical model
of the college withdrawal process across 11 different types of postsecondary institutions using

a sample of 2,326 students (Pascarella, 1982). An extensive test of the SIQ revealed that (a)

various measures of Tinto's concepts explained significant increments in the variance in first

year students' decisions to voluntary persist and withdraw from postsecondary studies; (b) the

relationships between the constructs of social and academic involvement, commitment to the

institution and commitment to graduation in relation to persistence were more theoretically

consistent within residential and liberal arts samples than within two- and four-year commuter

samples; and (c) the addition of the cross-product terms which assessed the differential

influence of social and academic involvement into the prediction equation resulted in

significant increases in the explained variance in persistence/withdrawal decisions (Pascarella,

1982).

The research instrument also contained several additional inquiries that solicited
information concerning students' demographic and experiential characteristics. Questions

concerning students' demographic and experiential characteristics included, for example,

inquiries about a subject's age, race, gender, institution of initial enrollment, marital status

during college, number of dependents during college, initial educational objectives, and

whether those objectives changed while attending college.

Procedures
Prior to the formal administration of the survey, a pilot study was conducted. A
sample of 50 randomly selected students from the University of Florida was personally









contacted and asked to complete the research questionnaire. As a result of the pilot study

redundant questions were removed and others were modified for clarity.

Data collection for this investigation took place during November 1995. Four-

hundred randomly selected students from the University of Florida who, according to

University of Florida records, were expected to earn the bachelor's degree on December 16,

1995, were contacted by telephone during the third week of November 1995 and asked to

complete the research instrument. The research questionnaire included a request that subjects

respond to specific experiential inquiries and questions that were based on Persistence Theory

as proposed by Tinto (1975, 1987). Survey questions were based on those factors that are

theoretically associated with academic persistence and to successful baccalaureate attainment

(see Appendix A).

The University of Florida also was contacted and asked to confirm students'

graduation status; date of the students' admission to a state university; status as a native

university, four-year college transfer student, or as a community college transfer student; date

of CLAST passage, date of graduation, age, gender, race, standardized test (SAT or ACT)

scores, and overall grade point average at graduation for those students who completed the

research questionnaire.

Statistical analysis was conducted on the obtained data in relation to the amount of

time required to earn the baccalaureate degree for all students and for students by transfer

category. Statistical analysis was also conducted on the subjects' demographic and

experiential responses in relation to the students' transfer status, SIQ scores, and time to

baccalaureate degree attainment.

Treatment of the Data
For this investigation, data treatment was designed to reflect a logical progression
from simple statistics to more complicated analysis of covariance. Each step in the treatment
of the data was based on and extended the previous treatment.

Demographic and experiential information was first analyzed in this investigation.

Means, standard deviations, and ranges were reported for the entire sample and, where

appropriate, by transfer category. Data were then analyzed to determine whether or not









students were requiring four or more sequential years (12 semesters) to graduate with the

baccalaureate degree. For the test of the first hypothesis students' time to degree was

aggregated according to their status as transfer or nontransfer students, and comparisons were

made concerning time to baccalaureate degree attainment.

For the test of the second hypothesis the covariants of age, gender, race, SAT/ACT

concordance score, initial and final degree objectives, marital status, employment status,

whether the student was financially supporting others, final grade point average, and the

student's college within the university were added to the model. Comparisons were then

made among students divided according to their transfer status or nontransfer status in

relation to time required for baccalaureate graduation.

For the test of the third hypothesis the covariants used in the second analysis were

included in the model as were students' responses to specific questions on the SIQ scales of

"Social Involvement" (survey question numbers 13, 14, 15, 16, and 19), "Academic

Involvement" (survey question numbers 18, 20, 21, 22, and 23), and

"Commitment/Satisfaction" (survey question numbers 24, 25, 26, and 27). Analysis of

student demographics and responses to the SIQ was then conducted among the subjects by

transfer/nontransfer category in relation to time to degree.

Statistical Analysis of the Data
Demographic information was analyzed first and various means, medians, and

standard deviations were determined. Descriptive information also was reported in relation to

transfer status, time to degree and SIQ scores.

Analysis of Hypothesis One was undertaken by determining the average number of

semesters from initial entry into higher education until baccalaureate attainment for the

individual categories of students. Following this, analysis of variance (ANOVA) was

conducted to reveal whether all students, and all students by transfer classification, were

requiring significantly more than the traditional pattern of four sequential years (12

semesters) to earn the bachelor's degree.

Following this, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for the analysis of

Hypothesis Two. For the second hypothesis comparisons of time to baccalaureate attainment









of community college transfer students, four-year college transfer students, other students

who could not be identified as transfer or nontransfer students, and native university students

were conducted using demographic and experiential variables as covariants.

Analysis of Hypothesis Three was undertaken using analysis of covariance. For the

third analysis responses were analyzed to investigate the hypothesized relationship between

student involvement as measured by responses to individual inquiries on the Student

Involvement Questionnaire scales of "Social Involvement" (survey question numbers 13, 14,

15, 16, and 19), "Academic Involvement" (survey question numbers 18, 20, 21, 22, and 23),

and "Commitment/Satisfaction" (survey question numbers 24, 25, 26, and 27), the subjects'

transfer status, time to baccalaureate attainment, and the demographic/experiential variables.

Summary
The purpose of this investigation was to determine the length of time required for

students to earn the baccalaureate degree from their initial entry into postsecondary education

in relation to transfer status, demographic/ experiential variables, and persistence theory.

Following a pilot study, a random sample of 400 of the 1,788 students who were

scheduled to graduate from the University of Florida with the bachelor's degree on

December 16, 1995, was contacted by telephone during the third week of November 1995

and asked to complete a research instrument. The research instrument requested information

concerning students' demographic and experiential characteristics. Additionally, the

questionnaire contained the SIQ. The SIQ, which has been used to measure student

involvement and commitment in university environments and is based on the Persistence

Theory (Tinto, 1975, 1987), has been found to possess acceptable levels of validity

(Pascarella, 1982) and reliability (Williford, 1989).

Student responses to the questionnaire were divided and aggregated according to
transfer or nontransfer classifications. The aggregated data were then analyzed in a logical

progression proceeding from simple descriptive statistics to analysis of variance and analysis

of covariance.














CHAPTER IV
RESULTS

Introduction
The general purpose of this investigation was to study the phenomenon of student

persistence to the bachelor's degree in relation to the time required to attain that degree.

Specifically, this study investigated the time, as measured in semesters, required for

community college transfer students, other four-year college transfer students, and native

university students to obtain the baccalaureate degree. Time to degree was measured from the

semester and year that the individual initiated postsecondary studies to baccalaureate

graduation in December 1995. However, this time period cannot be construed as necessarily

equating to a period of continuous enrollment. This investigation also explored whether

demographic and experiential variables contributed to extended student tenure and explored

this phenomenon in relation to Tinto's theory of student persistence (Tinto, 1975, 1987).

Tests of the Hypotheses

Hypothesis Number One

Hypothesis Number One stated that there is no difference in the time required to

attain the baccalaureate degree among students who began their postsecondary studies at a

two-year community college, those students who transferred between four-year baccalaureate

degree-granting institutions, and those students who began and remained at a single four-year

institution to graduation.

As shown in Tables 1 and 2, for the sample, there was a significant difference in the

time required to attain the baccalaureate degree among students who began their

postsecondary studies at a two-year community college, those students who transferred

between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institutions, and those students who began

and remained at a single four-year institution to graduation. Hypothesis One was rejected.










Table 1

Analysis of Variance Among Students Who Began Their Postsecondarv Studies at the
University of Florida. a Community College. Another Four-Year Institution and Time. as
Measured in Total Semesters, to Baccalaureate Degree Attainment (n=353)



Source Degree of Freedom Sum of Squares Mean Square F Value Pr>F


Model 3 1784.09831 594.69944 10.32 0.0001
Error 349 20116.8762 57.64148
Corrected Total 352 21900.9745

R-Square C.V. Root MSE Total Semester Mean
0.081462 47.42605 7.59220 16.0085





Table 2

Total Semesters Enrolled in Postsecondarv Education Prior to Baccalaureate Graduation
Native University Students



Min. Max. Sum Mean Variance Std. Dev.


Native University 4.0 50.0 2935.0 13.9099 18.5204 4.3035

Comm. College
Transfer 7.0 68.0 2334.0 18.2344 89.3777 9.4539784

Four-Year Transfer 7.0 71.0 992.0 18.7169 157.3991 12.5459

Other Students 13.0 40.0 110.0 27.50 211.0 14.5258




Because of the significant variation of means between the groups, equality of means

tests, where the variances are not assumed to be equal, were conducted. Using both the Welch

and the Brown-Forsythe methods, differences between the groups still were found to be

significant at the .0008 (Welch) and .0114 (Brown-Forsythe) level.









Further analysis was conducted using Tukey's Studentized Range (HSD) Test, which

controls the Type I experimentwise error rate. As illustrated in Table 3, setting the Alpha at

0.05, the confidence interval at 0.95 with 349 degrees of freedom, and the mean square error

equal to 57.64148, significant differences were found between native university students and

community college transfer students; as well as four-year college transfer students and

community college transfer students.

The test of the first hypothesis indicated that significant differences existed in total

semesters to baccalaureate graduation from initial entry into postsecondary studies among

students categorized by their transfer or nontransfer category. Additional analysis using

Tukey's Studentized Range Test revealed that significant differences existed between native

university students and community college transfer students as well as four-year college

transfer students and community college transfer students. However, only 8% of the variance

in the model was attributable to students' transfer or nontransfer status.

Hypothesis Number Two

Hypothesis Number Two stated that there are no differences among community

college transfer students, those students who transferred between four-year baccalaureate

degree-granting institutions, and native university students in relation to the time required to

attain the baccalaureate degree when demographic characteristics such as age, race, marital

status, and gender are used as covariants.

As shown in Table 4, significant differences were evidenced among community

college transfer students, those students who transferred between four-year baccalaureate

degree-granting institutions, and native university students in relation to the time required to

attain the baccalaureate degree when the demographic characteristics of age, race, sex, marital

status, SAT/ACT concordance score, initial and subsequent degree objectives at the University

of Florida, employment status, whether they were financially supporting others while at the

University of Florida, college of enrollment within the university, and final GPA were entered

into the analysis as covariants. This hypothesis was rejected.

Additional analysis of Hypothesis Two was conducted. As shown in Table 5, this

analysis revealed that the greatest contributing factors to the significant differences between










Table 3

Tukey's Studentized Range Test


Comparisons Simultaneous Lower Difference Between Simultaneous Upper
Confidence Limit Means Confidence Limit


Native University-- -6.8105 -4.4926 -2.1747 ***
Comm. College Transfer

Native University-- -7.0366 -3.8144 -0.5921 *
Four-Year Transfer

Native University-- -20.7701 -9.3651 2.0399
Other Students

Comm. College Transfer- -2.1747 4.4926 6.8105 ***
Native University

Comm. College Transfer-- -2.7409 0.6783 4.0974
Four-Year Transfer

Comm. College Transfer- -16.3347 -4.8725 6.5897
Other Students

Four-Year Transfer-- -0.5921 3.8144 7.0366 ***
Native University

Four-Year Transfer- -4.0974 -0.6783 2.7409
Comm. College Transfer

Four-Year Transfer-- -17.2294 -5.5507 6.1280
Other Students

Other Students- -2.0399 9.3651 20.7701
Native University

Other Students-- -6.5897 4.8725 16.3347
Comm. College Transfer

Other Students-- -6.1280 5.5507 17.2294
Four-Year Transfer


Alpha = 0.05. Confidence = 0.95. df= 349. MSE=- 57.64148.
Critical Value ofStudentized Range = 3.651.
Comparisons significant at the 0.05 level are indicated by '***.'









Table 4

Analysis of Covariance Among Students Who Began Their Postsecondarv Studies at the
University of Florida. a Community College. Another Four-Year Institution and Time. as
Measured in Total Semesters, to Baccalaureate Degree Attainment (n = 283)



Source Degree of Freedom Sum of Squares Mean Square F Value Pr>F


Model 45 8990.31637 199.78481 24.49 0.0001
Error 237 1933.37974 8.15772
Corrected Total 282 10923.69611

R-Square C.V. Root MSE Mean
0.823010 18.80197 2.85617 15.1908




time to graduation among the groups was accounted for by "Age" (P>.0001; Mean Square

= 3072.14757) ,"Marital Status," (P>.0001; Mean Square=135.48093), and "Financially

Supporting Others" (P>.03; Mean Square = 28.99026).

In the test of the second hypothesis, demographic and experiential covariants were

included in the model. With demographic and experiential variables included, the model

explained approximately 82% of the variance among students categorized by transfer status

and time to degree. Analysis revealed that the greatest contributing factors to the significant

differences between time to graduation among the groups was accounted for by "Age"

(P>.0001; Mean Square = 3072.14757) ,"Marital Status," (P>.0001; Mean

Square=1 35.48093), and "Financially Supporting Others" (P>.03; Mean Square =

28.99026).

Hypothesis Number Three

Hypothesis Number Three stated that there are no differences in time required to

attain the baccalaureate degree among those students who transferred from a

community/junior college, transferred between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting

institutions, and native university students when demographic characteristics such as age, race,

marital status, and gender and measures of student involvement, as assessed by the Student

Involvement Questionnaire, are included as covariants.










Table 5

Factors contributing to Differences in Time to Demee Among Native University Students.
Community College Transfer Students. Other Four-Year institution Transfer Students, and
Other Students



Source Degree of Freedom Type III Sam of Squares Mean Square F Value Pr>F


Institution Attended 3
After High School


58.73668


19.57889 2.40 0.0685


Age

Gender

Race

Hispanic Origin

SAT/ACT Concordance

Initial Objectives


Marital Status 2

Employment Status 1

Summer or Semester 2
Employment Mostly

On-Campus or Off- 2
Campus Employment

Financially 2
Supporting Others

Academic Objectives at 4
Graduation

Full-Time or Part-Time I
Employment

GPA 1

College 11


1 3072.14757

1 7.04545

3 8.74270

1 3.96083

1 9.94937

7 4245679


270.96186

1.39684

10.12379


4.57605


3072.14757

7.05455

2.91423

3.96083

9.94937

6.06526

135.48093

1.39684

5.06189


376.59

0.86

0.36

0.49

1.22

074


0.0001

0.3537

0.7839

0.4866

0.2706

0.6353

0.0001

0.6794

0.5385


2.28803 0.28 0.7557


57.98053 28.99026 3.55 0.0302


21.54670


2.65634


8.37446

102.49912


5.38668 0.66 0.6202


2.65634 0.33 0.5688


8.37446 1.03

9.3181 1.14


0.3120

0.3291









As shown in Table 6, when demographic characteristics of age, race, sex, marital

status, highest SAT/ACT concordance score, initial and subsequent degree objectives at the

University of Florida, employment status, whether they were financially supporting others

while at the University of Florida, final GPA and subjects' responses to the Student

Involvement Questionnaire among those students who transferred from a community/junior

college, transferred between four-year baccalaureate degree-granting institutions were

compared and native university students in relation to the time required to attain the

baccalaureate degree significant differences were found. This hypothesis was rejected.


Table 6

SAS General Linear Models Procedure Among Students Who Began Their Postsecondarv
Studies at the University of Florida. a Community College. Another Four Year Institution and
Time. as Measured in Total Semesters, to Baccalaureate Degree Attainment in Relation to
Student Responses on the Involvement Ouestionnaire (n=283)



Source Degree of Freedom Sum of Squares Mean Square F-Value Pr>F


Model 68 9197.19401 135.25285 16.76 0.0001
Error 214 1726.50211 8.06777
Corrected Total 282 10923.69611

R-Square C.V. Root MSE Total Postsecondary Mean
0.841949 18.69802 2.84038 15.1908



Additional analysis of Hypothesis Three was conducted. As shown in Table 7, this analysis

revealed that the greatest contributing factors to the significant differences between time to

graduation among the groups was accounted for by "Age" (P>.0001; Mean Square =

2865.07681) ,"Marital Status" (p>.0001; Mean Square=91.53053), "Financially

Supporting Others" (P>.01; Mean Square = 35.97421), "Number of hours Spent in Studies

During this Academic Year" (P>.0073; Mean Square= 59.10816), and "Number of Times

You Talked to Faculty Members about Their Research or Scholarship during this Academic

Year" (P> .04; Mean Square = 35.45635).










Table 7

Factors Contributing to Differences in Time to Degree Among Native University Students.
Community College Transfer Students. Other Four-Year institution Transfer Students, and
Other Students



Source Degree of Freedom Type III Sum of Squares MeanSquare FValue Pr>F


Institution Attended 3
After High School

Age 1

Gender 1

Race 3

Hispanic Origin 1

SAT/ACT Concordance 1

Initial Academic 7
Objectives

Marital Status 2

Employment Status I

Mostly Summer or 2
Semester Employment

On-Campus or Off- 2
Campus Employment

Financially 2
Supporting Others

Academic Objectives at 4
Graduation

Full-Time or Part-Time 2
Employment

Hours Spent 1
Studying

Hours Spent 1
Participating in
Activities


69.14522


2865.07681

16.24847

13.42998

3.02687

6.42714

56.42752


183.06106

1.12001

17.33532


2.43724


71.94842


14.52207


3,15669


59.10816


7.96072


23.04841 2,86 0.0380


2865.07681

16.24847

4.4766

3.02687

6.42714

8.06107


355.13

2.01

0.55

0.38

0.80

1.00


91.53053

1.12001

8.66766


0.0001

0.1573

0.6454

0.5408

0.3731

0.4328


0.0001

0.7098

0.3434


1 21862 0.15 0.8599


35.97421 4.46 0.0127


3.63052 0.45 0.7723


1.57835 0.23 0.8225


59.10816 7.33 0.0073


7.96072 0.99 0.3217










Table 7--continued.


Source Degree of F


Weekends Spent 1
On Campus

Outings With 1
Friends

On-Campus Parties I
Attended

Nonassigned Books 1
Read

Cultural Events I
Attended

Conversations With 1
University Personnel to
Discuss Plans & Problems

Times Talking to 1
Faculty about Their
Research/Scholarship

Social Interactions 1
With Faculty

Feelings Concerning 3
University

Importance Attributed to 3
Graduating from this
University

Importance Attributed to 3
Graduating from any
University

Rating of University 3
Instruction

GPA I

College 11


freedom Type III Sum of Squares Mean Square F Value


361997 3.61997 0.45


7.46531 7.46531 0.93


19.05291 19.05291 2.36


0.32745 0.32745 0.04


4.38408 4.38048 0.54


26.09595 26.09595 3.23


35.45635



13.03803


20.29992


8.02384



2.57032



12.88243


8.37446

102.49912


35.45635 4.39 0.0372


13.03803


6.76664


2.67461


0.85677 0.11 0.9564


4.29414


8.37446

9.31810


Pr>F


0.5037


0.3372


0.1258


0.8405


0.4618


0.0735


0.2050


0.4740


0.8026


0.6606


0.3120

0.3291









In the test of the Third Hypothesis demographic/experiential and subjects' responses

to the Student Involvement Questionnaire were included in the model as covariants. With

subjects' responses to the SIQ included, the model explained approximately 84% of the

variance among students categorized by transfer category and time to degree. Analysis

revealed that the greatest contributing factors to the significant differences between time to

graduation among the groups was accounted for by "Age" (P>.0001; Mean Square =

2865.07681) ,"Marital Status" (p>.0001; Mean Square = 91.53053), "Financially

Supporting Others" (P>.01; Mean Square = 35.97421), "Number of Hours Spent in Studies

During this Academic Year" (P>.0073; Mean Square = 59.10816), and "Number of Times

You Talked to Faculty Members about Their Research or Scholarship during this Academic

Year" (P> .04; Mean Square = 35.45635).

Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample
Percentages reported in this section may not equal 100% due to rounding. The
population of interest for this investigation included those individuals who graduated from

the University of Florida with the bachelor's degree in December 1995. The total population

contained 1,788 individuals. The total sample included 400 randomly selected individuals.

Randomly selected samples of 322 individuals provides for a sampling error of 5% for

populations containing 2,000 individuals (Putt & Springer, 1989). As shown in Table 8, of

the individuals who completed the survey, 215 or 53.8% were native to the University of

Florida and 46.3% transferred to the University of Florida either from a community college

or another four-year postsecondary institution. Four students with otherwise complete data

sets were unable to state whether they were native to the University of Florida or whether they

transferred to the University of Florida from another institution. These four individuals were

retained in the analysis because they possessed complete data sets and because it was of some

interest to discern the characteristics of individuals who were unsure as to whether they

transferred to the University of Florida from another institution or began their postsecondary

education there. Conclusions cannot be reasonably extrapolated concerning almost any

population from a sample of only four individuals. Of those who transferred to the University









of Florida, 128 or 32% transferred to the University of Florida from a community college

and 53 or 13.3% transferred to the University of Florida from another four-year institution.


Table 8

Transfer Status of the Total Sample



Number Percent


Native University Students 215 53.8

Community College Transfer Students 128 32.0

Four Year College Transfer Students 53 13.3

Other Students 4 4.0




Table 9 illustrates that students who began their postsecondary studies at the

University of Florida graduated sooner, as measured in total semesters from initiation of

postsecondary studies, than any other group. Community college and other four-year

transfer students required approximately the same number of semesters to graduate with the

baccalaureate degree from their initial entry into postsecondary studies. Other students who

could not be classified into any of the primary categories required more semesters from their

initial entry into postsecondary education to baccalaureate degree attainment than did any of

the other groups. Importantly, for this analysis total semesters from the initiation of

postsecondary studies to graduation cannot be construed to represent semesters of continuous

enrollment. Rather, this investigation considered time only, as measured in semesters, from the

initiation of postsecondary studies to graduation with the baccalaureate degree and not

semesters of continuous enrollment or total semester hours earned.

As shown in Table 10, native university students did require more semesters of

enrollment at the University of Florida prior to graduation than did any of the transfer

groups. However, since students who were native to the University of Florida were the only

group to begin their studies at the University of Florida, this was not an unexpected finding.










Table 9

Mean Number of Semesters from Initial Entry into Postsecondary Education to Graduation
with the Bachelor's Degree Total Samole and by Category



Mean Number of Semesters S.D. Range


Total Sample 16.09 8.20 67 (n=400)

Native University Students 13.91 4.30 46 (n=215)

Community College Transfer Students 18.23 9.45 61 (n=128)

Four Year Transfer Students 18.72 12.55 64 (n=53)

Other Students 27.50 14.53 27 (n=4)



Table 10

Mean Number of Semesters from Initial Entry into the University of Florida to Graduation
with the Bachelor's Degree Total Sample and by Category



Mean Number of Semesters S.D. Range


Total Sample 11.69 5.05 25.5 (n=400)

Native University Students 13.87 4.39 49 (n=215)

Community College Transfer Students 9.02 4.81 38(n=128)

Four Year Transfer Students 9.55 4.11 23 (n=53)

Other Students 8.75 2.36 5 (n=4)



For native university students, the mean number of semesters from initial entry into

postsecondary education to baccalaureate graduation (13.91 mean semesters) is greater by

.04 semester than the mean number of semesters from initial entry into the University of

Florida to baccalaureate graduation (13.87 mean semesters) since, conceptually, these









numbers should be equal for native university students. This difference of .04 semester is

small and may be attributable to respondent error or to an error in coding.

As shown in Table 11, all students required between 9.02 and 10.84 semesters of

enrollment following passage of all sections of the CLAST exam until graduation with the

baccalaureate degree. The CLAST is an achievement test that measures selected

communication and mathematics skills adopted by the State [of Florida] Board of Education.

It is comprised of four subtests including an essay, English, language skills, and reading and

mathematics skills (Karpis, 1992). Additional analysis revealed that no significant differences

existed among the groups of students between time, as measured in semesters, from passage

of the CLAST to baccalaureate graduation.


Table 11

Mean Number of Semesters from Passage of All Sections of the CLAST Exam to Graduation
with the Bachelor's Degree Total Sample and by Category



Mean Number of Semesters S.D. Range


Total Sample 10.27 3.48 25.0 (n= 394)

Native University Students 10.84 3.98 26.0 (n=212)

Community College Transfer Students 9.02 4.81 38 (n=126)

Four Year Transfer Students 9.63 3.75 19 (n=52)

Other Students 9.25 3.59 8 (n=4)



The majority of total respondents--226 (56.5%)--were male and the remaining--174

(43.5%)--were female. Table 12 shows that the total population of December 1995 University

of Florida baccalaureate graduates consisted of 991 (55.5%) males and 796 (44.6%) female.

Males constituted 53.8% of the native university students, 62.2% of the community college

transfer students, 50% of the other four-year college transfer students and 25% of the other

unclassified students. Table 13 shows that the ages of the respondents ranged from 20 years










old to 45 years old. Fully 88.6% of respondents were 26 years old or less with the majority of

respondents, 93.4% being 30 years old or less.


Table 12

Gender--Total Population and Sample by Transfer Category



Male Percent Female Percent


Total Population 991 55.5 796 44.6

Total Sample 226 56.5 174 43.5

Native University Students 118 53.8 94 44.3

Community College Transfer Students 79 62.2 48 37.8

Four-Year College Transfer Students 26 50.0 26 50.0

Other 1 25.0 3 75.0



Table 13

Mean Age-Total Sample and by Category


Average Age Range Standard Deviation



Total Sample 23.52 25.0 3.46 (n=400)

Native University Students 22.31 14.0 1.65 (n=215)

Community College Transfer 24.95 25.0 4.19 (n=128)

Other Four Year College transfer 24.77 23.0 4.84 (n=53)

Other Students 26.5 10.0 4.80 (n--4)



Table 14 shows that 17 (4.3%) of the respondents identified themselves as black, 344

(86.%) identified themselves as white, 24 (6.%) stated that they Asian, and the remaining 15









(3.8%) identified themselves as being of another racial group. The majority of the sample,

351 (87.8%), identified themselves as not being of Hispanic ancestry. For the total population

of December 1995 baccalaureate graduates 86 (4.8%) were Asian (51 male 35 female); 74

(4.1%) were black (33 male and 41 female); 138 (7.7) were Hispanic (80 male and 58

female); 7 (.39%) were native Americans (4 male and 3 female); 41 (2.3%) were nonresident

aliens (30 male and 11 female); 1,439 (80.5%) were white (793 male and 646 female), and 2

(.1%) did not report a race (2 females).


Table 14

Race--Total Sample and by Transfer Category



White Percent Black Percent Asian Percent Other Percent


Total Sample 344 86.0 17 4.3 24 6.0 15 3.8

Native University Students 118 86.3 6 2.8 14 6.6 9 4.2
Community College Transfer
Students 113 89.0 7 5.5 4 3.1 3 2.4

Four-Year College Transfer
Students 42 80.8 4 7.7 3 5.8 3 5.8

Other Students 2 50 0 0 2 50 0 0



The majority of native university students identified themselves as white (86.3%).

Smaller numbers identified themselves as black (2.8%), Asian (6.6%), or other (4.2%). Only

11.8% of native university students of any race identified themselves as being of Hispanic

ancestry. Community college transfer students mostly identified themselves as white (89.%)

followed by black (5.5%), Asian (4%), and other (3%). For all community college transfer

students of any race only 13.4% identified themselves as being of Hispanic ancestry. Other

four-year college transfer students principally identified themselves as white (80.8%)

followed by black (7.7%), Asian (5.8%), and other (5.8%). Only 11.5% of all other four-

year college transfer students identified themselves as being of Hispanic ancestry. Students









who could not be categorized according to the three selected transfer categories identified

themselves as being white (25%), black (25%), Asian (25%), and other (25%). Of this group,

25% identified themselves as being of Hispanic origin.

Very few of the students from any transfer category were required to enroll in

remedial course work following entry into postsecondary studies. Remedial courses are not

offered to students at the University of Florida so it is reasonable that none of the native

university students were required to enroll in such courses. Table 15 shows that students who

transferred to the University of Florida from a community college or other four-year

institution (45 or 11.3%) were on average required to enroll in between one and two college

preparatory courses at their community college or other four-year institution.


Table 15

Mean Number of Remedial Courses Taken--Total Sample and by Category (n=400)



Mean Range Standard Deviation


Total Sample .77 2.0 .91

Native University Students 0 0 0

Community College Transfer Students 1.71 1.0 .45

Four-Year College Transfer Students 1.80 1.0 .40

Other Students 1.75 1.0 .50



Subjects were asked whether they had obtained a postsecondary degree prior to

transferring to the University of Florida. Students were specifically told that a certificate, such

as might be obtained from participation in a vocational training program, was not, for the

purposes of this investigation, considered to be a degree. However, if a student earned an

associate's degree of any kind or a bachelor's degree prior to enrolling in the University of

Florida that would be considered transferring with a degree. Table 16 shows the number of

students who transferred to the University of Florida with postsecondary degrees.









Table 16

Number of Students Who Transferred to the University of Florida with Postsecondarv
Degrees--Total Sample and by Category



Number with Degrees Percent of Total


Total Sample 123 31.75 (n--=400)

Native University Students 0 0.0 (n=215)

Community College Transfer Students 108 84.4 (n= 128)

Four Year Transfer Students 12 22.6 (n=53)

Other Students 3 75. (n=4)



As shown in Table 17, the mean GPA of the sample students graduating from the

University of Florida in December 1995 ranged from 2.73 for "other students" to 3.06 for

native university students on a 4.0 scale. The mean GPA for community college transfer

students and other four year college transfer students differed by only .05. Students' grade

point averages were obtained from the University of Florida and are calculated on course

work completed at the University of Florida only. Grade point averages earned at a

community college or other four-year institution prior to transfer to the University of Florida

were not included in the reported GPAs.

The mean ACT score for the sample students graduating from the University of

Florida in December 1995 was 26.48. Table 18 shows that the mean ACT differed between

native university students (27.21), community college transfer students (25.69), and other

four-year transfer students (25.05). The obtained ACT scores fall within the mid-range (24-

29) of scores reported by the University of Florida Office of Admissions for students entering

during fall term 1995 (University of Florida, 1995c).

Table 19 shows that the mean reported SAT score for the sample of students

graduating from the University of Florida in December 1995 was 1124.22. The mean SAT

differed between native university students (1150.15), community college transfer











Table 17

Mean Grade Point Average (GPA) of Students at
Total Sample and by Category


utrauauon wimrn mte Bacnelor s LDegree-


Mean GPA S.D. Range


Total Sample 3.04 0.49 2.27 (n=400)

Native University Students 3.06 0.47 2.27 (n=215)

Community College Transfer Students 3.00 0.51 2.20 (n=128)

Four Year Transfer Students 3.05 0.50 2.12 (n=53)

Other Students 2.73 0.51 1.19 (n=4)






Table 18

Mean Reported ACT Score of Students-Total Samole and by Category



Mean A.C.T. S.D. Range


Total Sample 26.48 4.02 20 (n=129)

Native University Students 27.21 3.62 17 (n=75)

Community College Transfer Students 25.69 4.86 20 (n=35)

Four-Year Transfer Students 25.05 3.30 11 (n=19)

Other Students 0 0 0 (n=4)










Table 19

Mean Reported SAT Score of Students--Total Sample and by Category


Mean SAT. S.D. Range


Total Sample 1124.22 135.31 1050 (n=286)

Native University Students 1150.15 124.28 850 (n=185)

Community College Transfer Students 1062.86 147.67 850 (n=63)

Four-Year Transfer Students 1096.86 130.83 470 (n=35)

Other Students 1133.33 165.03 330 (n=3)



students (1062.86), other four-year transfer students (1096.86), and other students

(1133.33).

Reported SAT scores were converted to ACT scores using the Florida Department of

Education Concordance Table (Miller, 1991). However, 104 cases where a student possessed

both an SAT score and an ACT score the SAT score was not converted. Rather, the students

obtained ACT score was used and the converted SAT score was not used. Table 20 shows the

distribution of mean Concordance scores for the sample.


Table 20

Mean Reported Concordance Score of Students--Total Sample and by Category


Mean Concordance Score S.D. Range


Total Sample 26.56 3.45 20 (n=313)

Native University Students 27.21 3.14 17 (n=195)

Community College Transfer Students 25.32 3.92 20 (n=76)

Four-Year Transfer Students 25.69 3.12 11 (n=39)

Other Students 27.00 4.00 8 (n=3)










Table 21 shows that the majority of the total sample (77.8%) had as their objective

earning the bachelor's degree when they initially entered any college or university. By

graduation the majority of students (66%) still had the earning of the bachelor's degree as

their primary objective. Interestingly, however, by the time the students completed their

baccalaureate studies many more desired to continue their studies to earn advanced degrees.


Table 21

Degree Objectives of Total Sample (n=400)



Initial Degree Objective Objective at Graduation

Degree Number Percent Number Percent


Certificate 2 0.5 0 0

Associate's 16 4.0 1 0.3

Bachelor's 311 77.8 264 66.0

Master's 22 5.5 89 22.3

Doctorate 6 1.5 12 3.0

Medical 19 4.8 12 3.0

Law 18 4.5 19 4.8

Other 1 0.3 0 0

Don't Know 5 1.3 3 0.8



As shown in Tables 22, 23, 24, and 25 a similar pattern emerged among the individual

groups. Students' objectives changed as they approached baccalaureate graduation. In every

case the number of students who originally sought certificates, the associate degree, or the

bachelor's degree decreased while more students expressed as an objective the attainment of

post-graduate degrees.The majority of native university students (79.2%), community college

transfer students (73.2%), other four-year college students (73.2%), and other students (75%)










Table 22

Degree Objectives of Native University Student Sample (n=19T7i


Initial Degree Objective Objective at Graduation

Degree Number Percent Number Percent


Certificate 0 0 0 0
Associate's 1 0.5 0 0
Bachelor's 168 79.2 139 64.7
Master's 9 4.2 48 22.3
Doctorate 4 1.9 5 2.3
Medical 0 0 8 3.7
Law 12 5.7 13 6.0
Other 1 0.5 0 0
Don't Know 2 0.9 2 0.9



Table 23

Degree Objectives of Community College Transfer Student Sample (n=127)



Initial Degree Objective Objective at Graduation

Degree Number Percent Number Percent


Certificate 2 1.6 0 0
Associate's 13 10.2 1 0.8
Bachelor's 93 73.2 85 66.4
Master's 9 7.1 29 22.7
Doctorate 1 0.8 4 3.1
Medical 3 2.4 3 2.3
Law 5 3.9 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0
Don't Know 1 0.8 1 0.8










Table 24

Degree Objectives of Four-Year College Transfer Student Sample (n=52)


Initial Degree Objective Objective at Graduation

Degree Number Percent Number Percent


Certificate 0 0 0 0
Associate's 2 3.8 0 0
Bachelor's 42 80.8 37 69.8
Master's 4 7.7 12 22.6
Doctorate 1 1.9 3 5.7
Medical 1 1.9 1 1.9
Law 0 0 0 0
Other 0 0 0 0
Don't Know 2 3.8 0 0



Table 25
Degree Objectives of Other Student Sample (n=4"



Initial Deagree v Objective Oectve at Graduation

Degree Number Percent Number Percent


Certificate 0 0 0 0
Associate's 0 0 0 0
Bachelor's 3 75.0 3 75
Master's 0 0 0 0
Doctorate 0 0 0 0
Medical 0 0 0 0
Law 1 25.0 I 25
Other 0 0 0 0
Don't Know 0 0 0 0









had as their initial and primary goal when entering into postsecondary studies the acquisition

of the bachelor's degree. By graduation this had changed for all groups, with more students

having the acquisition of advanced degrees as an objective. However, acquisition of the

baccalaureate degree remained the principal goal for the majority of all subjects in all

categories--both at the initiation of postsecondary studies and at graduation.

As shown in Table 26, the majority (85.8%) of students resided off campus in an

apartment or house while they were attending the University of Florida. Fifty-one (12.8%)

resided in a dormitory for the majority of their tenure at the University of Florida while the

remaining 6 (1.5%) lived in their parent's house.


Table 26

Where Students Resided for the Maioritv of Their Tenure at the University of Florida--Total
Sample (n=400)



Number Percent

Dormitory 51 12.8

Off- Campus Apartment/House 343 85.8

Parent's House 6 1.5



The majority of the students in the sample also resided with a roommate during their

tenure at the University of Florida. Table 27 shows that relatively few resided alone (7.5%) or

with a spouse (6.3%). Interestingly, for the total sample, 8.8% were married either the entire

time they attended the University of Florida or for part of that time but only 6.3% of the total

sample resided with that spouse for the majority of time they attended the University of

Florida.

By the time of graduation the majority of students (85.8%) had lived the majority of

their time at the University of Florida in an apartment or house with a roommate (72%). As

shown in Table 28, the majority of respondents (59.3%) believed that their selected living










Table 27

With Whom Students Resided for the Majority of Their Tenure at the University of Florida--
Total Sample (n=400)



Number Percent


Roommate 288 72.0

Alone 30 7.5

With Spouse 25 6.3

No Response 57 14.3




Table 28

Student's Perception of Impact of Living Arrangements on Their Progress Toward the
Baccalaureate--Total Sample (n=400)



Number Percent


Helped Progress 237 59.3

Hindered Progress 34 8.5

Both 34 8.5

Had Little Impact 82 20.5

Don't Know 13 3.3




arrangements facilitated progress toward the bachelor's degree and an additional 20.5%

believed that living arrangements had little impact on their progress toward the baccalaureate

degree. Only 8.5% believed that their selected living arrangements hindered their progress

toward the baccalaureate degree.









As shown in Table 29, while at the University of Florida the majority of

respondents (81.8%) had as the majority of their friends and associates other university

students. The remaining respondents had either high school friends (9.3%), community

college friends (1.3%), family members (2.5%), or others (3.8%) as their closest

associates.



Table 29

Students' Friends and Associates While Attending the University of Florida--Total Sample
(n=400)


Number


Percent


University Students 327 81.8

High School Friends 37 9.3

Community College Students 05 1.3

Family Members 10 2.5

Other 15 3.8

None 04 1.0

Don't Know 02 0.5



Table 30 shows that overwhelmingly (81.3%), the respondents reported that they

believed that their choice of friends helped them in their attainment of the bachelor's degree.

Only 3.3% of the respondents reported that they believed their choice of friends hindered

their progress. As shown in Table 31, 89.7% of the respondents reported that of their five

closest friends between one and five attended the University of Florida. Table 32 shows that

the majority of respondents were single while attending the University of Florida (91.3%) and

1.5% were married part of the time while they attended the University.










Table 30

Student's Perceotion of Impact of Friends and Associates on Their Progress Toward the
Baccalaureate--Total Sample (n=400)



Number Percent


Helped Progress 325 81.3

Hindered Progress 13 3.3

Both 17 4.3

Had Little Impact 40 10.0

Don't Know 05 1.3





Table 31

How Many of Students' Five Closest Friends Attended the University of Florida--Total
Sample (n=400)



Number of Friends Number of Subjects Percent of Students Identifying
Identified Identifying that Number that Number


0 33 8.3

1 37 9.3

2 64 16.0

3 90 22.5

4 56 14.0

5 112 28.0

Don't Know 8 2.0









Table 32

Marital Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--Total Sample (n=400)



Number Responding Percent of Total


Manrried 29 7.3

Single 365 91.5

Married Part of the Time 6 1.5




Table 33

Number of Students Financially Supporting Others While Attending the University of
Florida--Total Sample (n-=400)



Number Percent


Financially Supporting Others All the Time 30 7.5

Not Financially Supporting Others 366 91.5

Financially Supporting Others 4 1.
Part of the Time



As illustrated by Tables 34, 35, 36, 37, and 38, only 14.8% of those surveyed reported

that they were not employed while attending the University of Florida. The majority of other

students either worked full time (22%) or part time (60.8%) while attending the University of

Florida. Students were mostly employed off campus (52.%) and most (34.3%) worked as

much during the school year as they did during the summer months. In addition to providing

some financial assistance to themselves Table 33 shows that a few were supporting others

either all the time they were attending the University (7.5%) or for a part of the time (1.%)

they were attending the University.










Table 34

Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--Total Sample
(n=400)


Number


Percent


Summer Employment Only 56 14.0
Semester Employment Only 26 6.5
Both Semester & Summer Employment 259 64.8
Not Employed 59 14.8
Part Time* 243 60.8
Full Time* 88 22.0
More than Full Time* 10 2.5
On-campus Work Site* 92 23.0
Off-campus Work Site* 208 52.0
Both On- and Off-campus Work Site* 41 10.3

* The 59 students who were not employed are not included.


Table 35

Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--Native University
Student Sample (n=212)


Number Percent


Summer Employment Only 36 17.0
Semester Employment Only 17 8.0
Both Semester & Summer Employment 135 63.7
Not Employed 24 113
Part Time* 134 63.2
Full Time* 50 23.6
More than Full Time* 4 1.9
On-campus Work Site* 56 26.4
Off-campus Work Site* 108 50.9
Both On- and Off-campus Work Site* 24 11.3

* The 24 students who were not employed are not included.










Table 36

Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--Community
College Transfer Student Sample (n=127)


Number


Percent


Summer Employment Only 17 13.4
Semester Employment Only 6 4.7
Both Semester & Summer Employment 80 63.0
Not Employed 24 18.9
Part Time* 71 55.9
Full Time* 26 20.5
More than Full Time* 6 4.7
On-campus Work Site* 23 18.9
Off-campus Work Site* 67 18.1
Both On- and Off-campus Work Site* 13 10.2

* The 24 students who were not employed are not included.


Table 37

Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--Four-Year
College Transfer Student Sample (n=52)


Number Percent


Summer Employment Only 2 3.8
Semester Employment Only 3 5.8
Both Semester & Summer Employment 37 71.2
Not Employed 10 19.2
Part Time* 31 59.6
Full Time* 11 21.2
More than Full Time* 0 0
On-campus Work Site* 9 17.3
Off-campus Work Site* 29 55.8
Both On- and Off-campus Work Site* 4 7.7

* The 10 students who were not employed are not included










Table 38

Employment Status of Students While Attending the University of Florida--Other Student
Sample (n=4)



Number Percent


Summer Employment Only 0 0
Semester Employment Only 0 0
Both Semester & Summer Employment 4 100.
Not Employed 0 0
Part Time 3 75.
Full Time 1 25.
More than Full Time 0 0
On-campus Work Site 2 50.
Off-campus Work Site 2 50.
Both On- and Off-campus Work Site 0 0



Only 11.3% of the native university students, 18.9% of the community college

transfer students, 19.2% of the other four-year college students, and none of the other

students were not employed while attending the University of Florida.

The majority of native university students (63.2%) were employed part time while

attending the University of Florida, and most (50.9%) were employed off campus. The

majority of community college transfer students (55.9%), other four-year college transfer

students (59.6%), and other transfer students (75%) were employed on a part-time basis while

attending the University of Florida. The majority of community college transfer students

(52.8%), other four-year college transfer students (55.8%), and other transfer students (50%)

were employed off campus while attending the University of Florida.

Student Involvement Ouestionnaire

The primary component of the research instrument for this investigation was the SIQ.

The SIQ is based on Tinto's theory of student persistence (Tinto, 1987). The SIQ and its

adaptations were designed to measure the constructs of academic involvement, social









involvement, involvement in activities, and student commitment and satisfaction (Williford,

1989) which, in accordance with Tinto's theory (1975, 1987), are thought to be related to

student persistence to baccalaureate degree attainment. The latest version of the SIQ was

adapted from a more lengthy questionnaire developed and tested by the University of

Michigan Project Choice which was designed to examine the relationship between

academic/social integration and student attrition (Johnson, 1980; Williford, 1989). The SIQ

has been used successfully at Ohio University since the mid-1980s to assess the relationship

between academic involvement, social involvement, involvement in activities, and

commitment/satisfaction to student retention to academic outcomes. Tests have shown that the

SIQ possess moderate to high estimates of reliability (Williford, 1989).

Several of the SIQ's questions are thought to measure students' social involvement

(the number of activities and time spent in those activities) in their college or university. Table

39 was used to describe the degree to which the student took part in extracurricular activities

(survey question number 13); Table 40, number of weekends each month spent on campus

(survey question number 14); Table 41, the number of times student went out with friends

each month (survey question number 15); Table 42, the number of on campus parties

attended each month (survey question number 16; and Table 43, hours spent studying for

classes each week (survey question number 12).



Table 39

Mean Hours Participating in Activities Each Week During the Academic Year (n=400)



Mean Number of Hours S.D. Range


Total Sample 12.15 13.63 104.
Native University Students 12.28 12.84 83.
Community College Transfer Students 11.10 13.12 66.
Four-Year College Transfer Students 12.96 12.41 47.
Other Students 27.75 50.87 104.










Table 40

Weekends Each Month Spent On Campus During the Academic Year (n=400)


Mean Number of Weekends S.D. Range


Total Sample 2.63 1.38 4.0
Native University Students 2.61 1.35 4.0
Community College Transfer Students 2.62 1.38 4.0
Four-Year College Transter Students 2.73 1.47 4.0
Other Students 2.00 1.83 4.0



Table 41

Number of Times Student Went Out with Friends Each Month During the Academic Year
(n=400)


Mean Number of Times S.D. Range


Total Sample 10.94 8.25 70
Native University Students 11.74 8.43 70
Community College Transfer Students 10.00 8.51 50
Four-Year College Transfer Students 10.31 6.63 25
Other Students 6.00 4.97 11



Table 42

Number of On Campus Parties Attended Each Month During the Academic Year (n=400)


Mean Number of Parties S.D. Range


Total Sample .72 1.93 20.0
Native University Students .65 1.73 16.0
Community College Transfer Students .92 2.47 20.0
Four-Year College Transfer Students .55 1.10 5.0
Other Students .25 0.50 1.0









Table 43

Number of Cultural Events Attended During the Academic Year (n=4001


Mean Number of Events S.D. Range


Total Sample 3.31 4.77 40
Native University Students 3.65 5.14 40
Community College Transfer Students 2.65 4.30 30
Four-Year College Transfer Students 3.51 4.21 25
Other Students 3.50 4.51 10



Several questions on the SIQ are related to the students' level of academic

involvement. Academic involvement was used to describe the degree to which the student

took part in academic activities outside the classroom such as social contacts with faculty

(survey question number 22), Table 48; time spent studying (survey question number 12),

Table 44; was engaged in related academic activities (survey question numbers 18 and 23),

Tables 45 and 49; had conversations concerning educational plans with an academic advisor,

faculty member, or other staff members (survey question number 20), Table 46; and had

conversations with a member of the faculty concerning the faculty members research or

scholarship (survey question number 21), Table 47 (Williford, 1989).


Table 44

Hours Spent Studying for Classes Each Week During the Academic Year (n=400)



Mean Number of Hours S.D. Range


Total Sample 12.81 13.1 168
Native University Students 11.38 9.89 55
Community College Transfer Students 13.97 11.23 60
Four-Year College Transfer Students 15.87 24.06 168
Other Students 12.50 5.00 10





























Table 46


Table 45

Books Read Other than for Classes During the Academic Year (n=400)


Mean Number of Books Read S.D. Range

Total Sample 4.92 11.78 200
Native University Students 4.85 7.07 55
Community College Transfer Students 3.63 5.22 35
Four-Year College Transfer Students 8.58 28.04 200
Other Students 2.0 1.0 2


Conversations with University Personnel During the Academic Year to Discuss Educational
and Career Plans. Problems, and Progress (n=400)


Mean Number of Conversations S.D. Range

Total Sample 16.28 28.56 400.00
Native University Students 13.46 16.99 107.00
Community College Transfer Students 18.66 39.73 400.00
Four-Year College Transfer Students 18.79 22.12 122.00
Other Students 58.5 96.44 196.00



Table 47

Mean Number of Occasions Students Talked to Faculty Members Concemine Faculty
Members' Research or Scholarship During the Academic Year (n=397T


Mean Number of Occasions S.D. Range

Total Sample 3.87 12.92 200(n=397)
Native University Students 3.23 6.61 40 (n=213)
Community College Transfer Students 3.85 18.61 200(n=128)
Four-Year College Transfer Students 6.59 21.01 120 (n=53)
Other Students 2.33 2.51 5.0 (n=3)










Table 48

Number of Social Encounters With Faculty Members During the Academic Year (n=400)



Mean Number of Times S.D. Range


Total Sample 1.33 3.31 33.00
Native University Students 1.19 3.37 33.00
Community College Transfer Students 1.16 2.38 15.00
Four-Year College Transfer Students 2.40 4.68 21.00
Other Students 0.25 0.50 1.00




Table 49

Number of Times at the Library During the Academic Year (n=400)



Mean Number of Times S.D. Range


Total Sample 26.14 30.20 200
Native University Students 23.24 27.48 170
Community College Transfer Students 31.85 33.76 200
Four-Year College Transfer Students 24.87 31.14 150
Other Students 16.25 11.09 25



The third section of the SIQ requires that the student respond to questions thought to

relate to a student's commitment to and satisfaction with their postsecondary educational

institution. Commitment and satisfaction was used here to describe the degree to which the

student is satisfied with the university they attended (survey question number 24), Table 50;

their rating of the quality of instruction they received (survey question number 27), Table 53;

and the significance the student attributed to graduating (survey question numbers 25 and

26), Tables 51 and 52 (Williford, 1989).









Table 50

Do You Believe That You Made the Right Choice by Attending the University of Florida?
Percent by Category* (n=400)



Definitely Probably Probably Definitely
Right Right Wrong Wrong


Total Sample 261(65.3%) 122(30.5%) 12(3.0%) 4(1.0%)

Native University Students 138(64.2%) 69(32.1%) 6(2.8%) 1(0.5%)

Community College Transfer Students 87(68.%) 35(27.3%) 4(3.1%) 2(1.6%)

Four-Year College Transfer Students 33(62.3%) 17(32.1%) 2(3.8%) 1(1.9%)

Other Students 3(75%) 1(25%) 0(0%) 0(0%)


*Responses of "Don't Know" not reported


Table 51

How Important Was It for You to Graduate from the University of Florida? Percent by
Category* (n=400)



Extremely Very Somewhat Not Very
Important Important Important Important


Total Sample

Native University Students

Community College Transfer Students

Four-Year College Transfer Students

Other Students


226(56.5%) 121 (30.5%) 41 (10.3%) 12 (3.0%)

131(60.9%) 60(27.9%) 18(8.4%) 6(2.8%)

67(52.3%) 44(34.4%) 14(10.9%) 3(2.3%)

27(50.9%) 15(28.3%) 8(15.1%) 3(5.7%)

1 (25%) 2(50%) 1(25%) 0(0%)


*Responses of "Don't Know" not reported.










Table 52


H


OW important was it 1fur lou tI Jauuait IIuill fo llv y Ulvelt ir lt V t- av


(n=399)


Extremely Very Somewhat Not Very
Important Important Important Important


Total Sample 280(70.%) 100(25.%) 15(3.8%) 4(1.%)

Native University Students 159(74.%) 50(23.3%) 4(1.9%) 2(0.9%)

Community College Transfer Students 81(63.3%) 37(28.9%) 8(6.3%) 2(1.6%)

Four-Year College Transfer Students 38(71.7%) 11 (20.8%) 3 (5.7%) 0(0%)

Other Students 2(50%) 2(50%) 0(0%) 0(0%)


*Responses of "Don't Know" not reported.


Table 53

How Would You Rate the Quality of Your University Instruction? Percent by Category
(n=400)


Very Somewhat Neutral Somewhat Very
Satisfactory Satisfactory Unsatisfactory Unsatisfactory


Total Sample 163(40.8%) 207(51.8%) 8(2.%) 21(5.3%)

Native Univ. Students 82(38.1%) 121(56.3%) 4(1.9%) 8(3.7%)

C. C. Transfer Students 54(42.4%) 57(44.5%) 4(3.1%) 12(9.4%)

4-Year Transfer Students 24(45.3%) 28(52.8%) 0(0%) 1(1.9%)

Other Students 3(75%) 1(25%) 0(0%) 0(0%)


1 (0.3%)

0(0%)

1 (0.8%)

0(0%)

0(0%)


Summary of the Principal Findings

This investigation found that students who graduated with the bachelor's degree in

December 1995 differed significantly in the time, as measured in total semesters from









beginning postsecondary studies, required to obtain that degree when such students were

categorized according to their status as a transfer or nontransfer student.

Students native to the University of Florida graduated significantly sooner than did

those students who began their postsecondary education at either a community college or at

another baccalaureate degree-granting institution. However, only 8% of the variance in the

model was explained by whether the student initiated postsecondary studies at the University

of Florida, at a community college, or at another baccalaureate degree-granting institution.

There was not a significant difference in time to degree among those students who began

their postsecondary education at a two-year postsecondary institution and those who began at

a four-year postsecondary institution other than the University of Florida.

In the second test of the hypotheses, students native to the University of Florida were

again found to have graduated significantly sooner than did those students who began their

postsecondary education at either a community college or at another baccalaureate degree-

granting institution. Additionally, for this analysis, several possible experiential/demographic

covariants were included in the analysis. This analysis revealed that 82% of the variance in

total postsecondary semesters from the initiation of postsecondary studies until the award of

the baccalaureate degree among the transfer/nontransfer groups was explained by the model.

The covariants of age (34%), marital status (3%), and whether the student was financially

supporting others (0.6%) accounted for a significant degree of the variation found among the

students divided according to transfer or nontransfer status and time to degree. The

covariants of age and marital status covaried positively with total time to degree, meaning that

older students and married students required relatively longer to graduate with the bachelor's

degree. The covariant of financially supporting others covaried negatively with total time to

degree, meaning that students who were financially supporting others while attending the

University of Florida graduated with the bachelor's degree in relatively less time than other

students.

In the third test of the hypotheses students native to the University of Florida were

again found to have graduated significantly sooner than did those students who began

their postsecondary education at either a community college or at another baccalaureate









degree-granting institution. In this analysis the same experiential/demographic covariants that

were used in the second analysis were included in the model. Additionally, this analysis also

included the subjects' responses to the Student Involvement Questionnaire. The Student

Involvement Questionnaire is based on Persistence Theory (Tinto, 1975, 1987) and measures

constructs theoretically associated with student involvement and student outcomes (Williford,

1989). This analysis revealed that 84% of the variance in total postsecondary semesters from

the initiation of postsecondary studies until the award of the baccalaureate degree among the

transfer/ nontransfer groups was explained by the model. The addition if subjects' responses

to the Student Involvement Questionnaire explained only an additional 2% of the variance

found in the model. The covariants of age (31%), marital status (2%), whether the student was

financially supporting others (0.78%), hours spent studying (0.64%), and the number of

times the student talked with a faculty member concerning the faculty member's research and

scholarship (0.39%) accounted for a significant degree of the variation found among the

students divided according to transfer or nontransfer status and time to degree. The

covariants of age and marital status again covaried positively with total time to degree, and

financially supporting others covaried negatively with total time to degree. Both the number

of hours students spent studying for class and the number of times they engaged faculty

members in discussions regarding the faculty members' research and scholarship covaried

negatively with total time to degree. This means that students who reported to have studied

more and more often engaged in conversations with faculty members concerning the faculty

members' research or scholarship graduated relatively sooner than other students.














CHAPTER V
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The general purpose of this investigation was to study the phenomenon of student

persistence to the bachelor's degree in relation to the time required to attain that degree.

Specifically, this study investigated the time, as measured in semesters, required for

community college transfer students, other four-year college transfer students, and native

university students to obtain the baccalaureate degree. Time to degree was measured from the

semester and year that the individual initiated postsecondary studies to the point of

baccalaureate graduation in December 1995. This investigation also explored whether

demographic and experiential variables contributed to extended student tenure. This

investigation explored this phenomenon in relation to Tinto's theory of student persistence

(Tinto, 1975, 1987).

Principal Findings
In this study it was found that students who graduated with the bachelor's degree in

December 1995 differed significantly in the amount of time required to obtain that degree, as

measured in total semesters from initial entry into postsecondary studies to baccalaureate

graduation, when such students where classified according to transfer or nontransfer status.

Students who were native to the University of Florida required significantly less time to

graduate with the baccalaureate degree than did students who transferred to the University of

Florida from a community college or from another baccalaureate degree-granting

institution. Importantly, time to degree should not be construed to equate to credit hours

earned. Credit hours earned was not a variable included in this investigation. Additionally,

total semesters from the initiation of postsecondary studies to baccalaureate graduation

cannot be construed as equating to semesters of continuous enrollment. This investigation









looked exclusively at time, as measured in semesters, from the initiation of a student's

postsecondary studies to baccalaureate graduation.

Students native to the University of Florida required a mean of 13.91 total semesters

from initial enrollment in postsecondary education to baccalaureate graduation. The standard

deviation for this group was 4.30 semesters, and the variance was 46 semesters. Students who

transferred to the University of Florida from a community college required a mean of 18.23

total semesters from initial enrollment in postsecondary education until graduation with the

baccalaureate degree. For this group, the standard deviation was 9.45 semesters and the range

was 61 semesters. Students who transferred to the University of Florida from another

baccalaureate degree-granting institution required a mean of 18.72 total semesters from

initial enrollment in postsecondary education until graduation with the baccalaureate degree.

For this group, the standard deviation was 12.55 semesters and the range was 64 semesters.

Students (n=4) who were unable to identify themselves as being either native University of

Florida, community college transfer, or other baccalaureate degree-granting institution

transfer students required a mean of 27.50 total semesters from initial enrollment in

postsecondary education until graduation with the baccalaureate degree. For this group, the

standard deviation was 14.53 semesters and the range was 27 semesters.

The finding that students native to the University of Florida required fewer total

semesters from initial entry into postsecondary studies until graduation was not unique nor

unexpected and has been found in many other investigations (Cohen & Brawer, 1989;

Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991). However, this investigation was designed to study not only

time to degree alone but also to investigate if other variables may have contributed to the

anticipated differences between students' transfer status and total number of semesters

required to baccalaureate graduation. In this second phase of the investigation students again

were divided according to their status as a transfer or native university student and the total

semesters from initial enrollment in postsecondary studies until graduation with the

baccalaureate degree was compared. However, in this second phase of investigation student

demographic factors such as age, race, sex, grade point average, and SAT/ACT concordance

score were entered into the model as covariants. When such covariants were included,









significant differences in total time to degree among students categorized by transfer

category again were revealed. In addition, 82% of the variance in total postsecondary

semesters from initiation of postsecondary studies until award of the baccalaureate degree

among the transfer/nontransfer groups was explained by the model. The covariants of age

(34%), marital status (3%), and whether the student was financially supporting others (0.6%)

accounted for a significant degree of the variation found among the students divided

according to transfer or nontransfer status and time to degree. The covariants of age and

marital status covaried positively with total time to degree, meaning that older students and

married students required relatively longer to graduate with the bachelor's degree. The

covariant of financially supporting others covaried negatively with total time to degree,

meaning that students who were financially supporting others while attending the University

of Florida graduated with the bachelor's degree in relatively less time than other students.

The final analysis of the data investigated the total number of semesters required from

initial enrollment into postsecondary studies among students differentiated by transfer/

nontransfer status, and, as in the previous analysis, specific demographic characteristics were

included in the model as covariants. Additionally, for this analysis student responses to

specific inquiries on the Student Involvement Questionnaire were included. The Student

Involvement Questionnaire is based on Tinto's theory (Tinto, 1975, 1987) of student

persistence (Williford, 1989). Tinto's theory assumes that persistence is primarily a function

of a student's commitment to the institution, and to the institution's goals and the student's

integration into the social and academic arenas of the institution (Ethington, 1990).

According to Tinto's theory, the probability that a student will persist to point of

baccalaureate graduation is a function of the degree to which the student is integrated into the

social and academic life of the campus, becomes committed to the goal of graduation, and

gains loyalty to the postsecondary institution (Mutter, 1992). Extensive research generally has

supported the predictive validity of Tinto's model and the importance of academic and social

integration to baccalaureate degree obtainment (Pascarella et al., 1986). As stated previously,

significant (P>.0001) differences were found among students' total semesters from initial

enrollment in postsecondary studies until graduation with the baccalaureate degree based on









status as a transfer or native university student. This analysis revealed that 84% of the variance

in total postsecondary semesters from the initiation of postsecondary studies until the award

of the baccalaureate degree among the transfer/nontransfer groups was explained by the

model. The covariants of age (31%), marital status (2%), whether the student was financially

supporting others (.7822%), hours spent studying (.6426%), and the number of times the

student talked with a faculty member concerning the faculty members' research and

scholarship (.3855%) accounted for a significant degree of the variation found among the

students divided according to transfer or nontransfer status and time to degree. The

covariants of age and marital status again covaried positively with total time to degree,

meaning that older students and married students tended to require more time to graduate

from baccalaureate studies. Financially supporting others covaried negatively with total time

to degree, meaning that students who were financially supporting others tended to require

relatively less time to graduate with the baccalaureate degree. Both the number of hours

students spent studying for classes and the number of times they engaged faculty members in

discussions regarding the faculty members' research and scholarship covaried negatively with

total time to degree. Therefore, those students who studied more and talked with faculty

members more concerning faculty member research or scholarship tended to require less

time to graduate with the baccalaureate degree. With the exception of the questions

concerning the reported number of hours students spent studying each week during the

academic year and the number of times students discussed faculty members' research or

scholarship, none of the factors associated with the Student Involvement Questionnaire

accounted for a significant degree of the variation in the model.

Descriptive Characteristics of the Sample
The population of interest for this investigation included those individuals who

graduated with the bachelor's degree from the University of Florida in December 1995. The

total population contained 1,787 individuals. The total sample included 400 randomly

selected individuals. Of the individuals who completed the survey 215 (or 53.8%) were native

to the University of Florida and 46.3% transferred to the University of Florida either from a

community college or another four-year postsecondary institution. Four students with









otherwise complete data sets were unable to state whether they were native to the University of

Florida or whether they transferred to the University of Florida from another institution. Of

those who were able to identify themselves as having transferred to the University of Florida,

128 or 32% of the total sample transferred to the University of Florida from a community

college and 53 or 13.3% of the total sample transferred to the University of Florida from

another four-year institution.

The mean number of total semesters from initial entry into postsecondary studies to

graduation for native University of Florida students was 13.91 semesters. Community college

transfer students required 18.23 semesters, other four-year college transfer students required

18.72 semesters, and the four other students required 27.5 semesters from initial entry into

postsecondary studies to graduation. Native university students required more semesters of

enrollment at the University of Florida prior to graduation (13.87) than did community

college transfer students (9.02), other four-year college transfer students (9.55), or other

students (8.75). However, since students who were native to the University of Florida were the

only group to begin their studies at the University of Florida, this was not an unexpected

finding.

All students required between 9.25 and 10.84 semesters of enrollment following their

passing all sections of the CLAST exam until graduation with the baccalaureate degree.

Native University of Florida students required a mean of 10,84 semesters, while community

college transfer students required a mean of 9.02 semesters, other four-year college transfer

students required a mean of 9.63 semesters, and the other four students required a mean of

9.25 semesters from passage of all sections of the CLAST exam to graduation with the

bachelor's degree. Additional analysis revealed that once a student completed the CLAST,

there were no significant differences in total time to degree among the groups.

The demographic characteristics of gender and race of the sample closely

approximated those of the study's population of interest. The majority of total respondents--

226 (56.5%)--were male, and the remaining--174 (43.5%)--were female. The total population
of December 1995 University of Florida baccalaureate graduates consisted of 991 (55.5%)

males and 796 (44.6%) females. Males constituted 53.8% of the native university students,









62.2% of the community college transfer students, 50% of the other four-year college

transfer students, and 25% of the other unclassified students. Ages of the respondents ranged

from 20 years old to 45 years old. Fully 88.6% of respondents were 26 years old or less with

the majority of respondents, 93.4%, being 30 years old or less. For native university students

the mean age at graduation was 22.31, for community college transfer students 24.95, for

other four-year college transfer students 24.77, and for the final group of four students 26.5

years.

Seventeen (4.3%) of all respondents identified themselves as black; 344 (86%)

identified themselves as white; 24 (6.%) stated that they were Asian; and the remaining 15

(3.8%) identified themselves as being a member of another racial group. The majority of the

sample, 351 (87.8%) of any race, identified themselves as not being of Hispanic ancestry. For

the total population of December 1995 baccalaureate graduates 86 (4.8%) were Asian (51

male and 35 female); 74 (4.1%) were black (33 male and 41 female); 138 (7.7) were

Hispanic (80 male and 58 female); 7 (.39%) were Native Americans (4 male and 3 female);

41 (2.3%) were non-resident aliens (30 male and I I female); 1,439 (80.5%) were white (793

male and 646 female); and 2 (.1%) did not report a race (two females).

Native university students were comprised of 86.3% white, 2.8% black, 6.6% Asian,

and 4.2% identified themselves as being a member of another racial group. Only 11.8% of

native university students of any race identified themselves as being of Hispanic ancestry. Of

community college students, 89% identified themselves as white, 5.5% black, 3.1% Asian, and

2.4% identified themselves as being from another racial background. For all community

college transfer students of any race, only 13.4% identified themselves as being of Hispanic

ancestry. The racial distribution of four-year college transfer students was comprised of

80.8% white, 7.7% black, 5.8% Asian, and 5.8% identified themselves as being a member of

another racial group. Only 11.5% of all other four-year college transfer students identified

themselves as being of Hispanic ancestry. Of the four students who could not be placed in a
transfer category, 50% identified themselves as white and 50% identified themselves as Asian,

and of this group 25% identified themselves as being of Hispanic origin.









Very few of the students from any transfer category were required to enroll in

remedial course work following entry into postsecondary studies. Remedial courses are not

offered to students at the University of Florida so it is reasonable that none of the native

university students were required to enroll in such courses. Of those students who transferred

to the University of Florida from a community college or other four-year institution, 45

(11.3%) were required to enroll in college preparatory studies at their community college or

other four-year institution. The mean number of remedial courses taken by community

college transfer students was 1.71; four-year college transfer students enrolled in a mean of

1.8 remedial courses; and the other uncategorized students enrolled in a mean of 1.75

remedial courses.

Subjects were asked whether they had obtained a postsecondary degree prior to
transferring to the University of Florida. Students were specifically told that a certificate, such

as might be obtained from participation in a vocational training program, was not, for the

purposes of this investigation, considered to be a degree. However, a student who earned an

associate's degree of any kind or a bachelor's degree prior to enrolling in the University of

Florida would be considered to have transferred to the University of Florida with a degree.

The total number of students in the sample who transferred to the University of Florida with

postsecondary degrees was 123 (31.75%). None of the native university students possessed a

postsecondary degree prior to enrolling in the University of Florida. However, 108 (84.4%)

of the community college transfer students possessed postsecondary degrees prior to

transferring to the University of Florida as did 12 (22.6%) of the four-year college transfer

students and three (75%) of the unclassifiable students. For this investigation the earning of a

degree prior to transfer was not a significant covariant.

The mean GPA of the sample students graduating from the University of Florida in
December 1995 ranged from 2.73 for "other students" to 3.06 for native university students

on a 4.0 scale. The mean GPA for community college transfer students and other four year

college transfer students differed by only .05. The mean GPA of native university students at

graduation with the bachelor's degree was 3.06; for community college transfer students, the

mean GPA was 3.00; for four-year college transfer students, the mean GPA at graduation was









3.05; and for the other four unclassified students the mean GPA at graduation was 2.73. For

this investigation final grade point average was not a significant covariant.

The mean ACT score for the sample students graduating from the University of

Florida in December 1995 was 26.48. The mean ACT differed among native university

students (27.21), community college transfer students (25.69), and other four-year transfer

students (25.05). The obtained ACT scores fall within the midrange (24-29) of scores

reported by the University of Florida Office of Admissions for students entering in fall term

1995 (University of Florida, 1995c). The mean reported SAT score for the sample of

students graduating from the University of Florida in December 1995 was 1124.22. The

mean SAT differed between native university students (1150.15), community college transfer

students (1062.86), other four-year transfer students (1096.86), and other students

(1133.33). Reported SAT scores were converted to ACT scores using the Florida Department

of Education Concordance Table (Miller, 1991). However, in those 104 cases where a student

possessed both a SAT score and an ACT score, the SAT score was not converted. Rather, the

students obtained ACT score was used, and the converted SAT score was not used. The mean

concordance score for the sample of students graduating from the University of Florida in

December 1995 was 26.56. The mean concordance score differed among native university

students (27.21), community college students (25.32), other four-year college transfer

students (25.69), and other students (27.00). For this investigation neither ACT scores nor

SAT scores were significant covariants.

The majority of respondents (77.8%) had as their objective earning the bachelor's

degree when they initially entered any college or university. By graduation, the majority of

students (66.%) still had the earning of the bachelor's degree as their primary objective.

Interestingly, however, by the time the students completed their baccalaureate studies, many

more desired to continue their studies to earn advanced degrees. A similar pattern emerged

among the individual groups. Students' objectives changed as they approached baccalaureate

graduation. In every case the number of students who sought certificates, the associate

degree, or the bachelor's degree decreased while more students expressed as an objective the

attainment of post-graduate degrees. This finding is consistent with earlier investigations









which found that as students advanced in higher education their degree aspirations became

higher (Polding & Keener, 1990). The majority of native university students (79.2%),

community college transfer students (73.2%), other four-year college students (73.2%), and

other students (75%) had as their initial and primary goal when entering into postsecondary

studies the acquisition of the bachelor's degree. By graduation this had changed for all

groups, with more students having the acquisition of advanced degrees as an objective.

However, the majority of students in every category still had as their primary goal the

acquisition of the baccalaureate degree at graduation. For this investigation, neither initial nor

subsequent degree objectives were significant covariants.

The majority (85.8%) of students resided off campus in an apartment or house while

they attended the University of Florida. Fifty-one (12.8%) resided in a dormitory for the

majority of their tenure at the University of Florida, while the remaining six (1.5%) lived in

their parent's house. The majority of the student sample also resided with a roommate during

their tenure at the University of Florida. Relatively few resided alone (7.5%) or with a spouse

(6.3%). Interestingly, for the total sample 8.8% were married either the entire time they

attended the University of Florida or for part of that time, but only 6.3% of the total sample

resided with that spouse for the majority of time they attended the University of Florida. By

the time of graduation the majority of students (85.8%) had lived the bulk of their time at the

University of Florida in an apartment or house with a roommate (72%). The majority of

respondents (59.9%) believed that their selected living arrangements facilitated progress

toward the bachelor's degree, and an additional 20.5% believed that their living arrangements

had little impact on progress toward the baccalaureate degree. Only 8.5% believed that their

selected living arrangements hindered progress toward the baccalaureate degree. For this

investigation neither the students' living arrangements nor their perceptions of those

arrangements were significant covariants.

While at the University of Florida the majority of respondents (81.1%) had as the
majority of their friends and associates other university students. The remaining respondents

had either high school friends (9.3%), community college friends (1.3%), family members
(2.5%), or others (3.8%) as their closest associates. Overwhelmingly (81.3%), the respondents









reported that they believed that their choice of friends helped them in attainment of the

bachelor's degree. Only 3.3% of the respondents reported that they believed their choice of

friends hindered their progress. In addition, 89.7% of the respondents reported that between
one and five of their five closest friends attended the University of Florida. Also, the majority

of respondents were single while attending the University of Florida (91.3%), and 1.5% were

married part of the time while they attended the university. Students' friends and associates

while at the university were not significant covariants in this investigation.

Only 14.8% of all those surveyed reported that they were not employed while

attending the University of Florida. The majority of other students either worked full time

(22%) or part time (60.8%) while attending the University of Florida. Students were mostly

employed off campus (52%), and many (34.3%) worked as much during the school year as

they did during the summer months. In addition to providing some financial assistance to

themselves, a few (7.5%) supported others either all the time they were attending the

university or for part of the time (1.%) while attending the university. Only 11.3% of the

native university students, 18.9% of the community college transfer students, 19.2% of the

other four-year college students, and none of the other students were not employed in some

manner while attending the University of Florida. This finding is of interest in that it has been

reported that community college students are generally less affluent than their four-year

college colleagues (Cohen & Brawer, 1989). Therefore, it would have been anticipated that

relatively more community college students would have been employed during their tenure at

the University of Florida than native university students.

The majority of native university students (63.2%) were employed part time while

attending the University of Florida, and most (50.9%) were employed off campus. The

majority of community college transfer students (55.9%), other four-year college transfer
students (59.6%), and other unclassifiable students (75%) were employed on a part-time basis

while attending the University of Florida. The majority of community college transfer

students (52.8%), other four-year college transfer students (55.8%), and other unclassifiable

students (50%) were employed off campus while attending the University of Florida. Neither









employment status nor location of employment were significant covariants in this

investigation.

Student Involvement Questionnaire
The primary component of the research instrument for this investigation was the

Student Involvement Questionnaire (SIQ). The SIQ is based on Tinto's theory of student

persistence (Tinto, 1973, 1987). The SIQ and its adaptations were designed to measure the

constructs of social involvement, academic involvement, and student commitment and

satisfaction (Williford, 1989) which, in accordance with Tinto's theory (1973, 1987), are

thought to be related to student persistence to baccalaureate degree attainment. The latest

version of the SIQ was adapted from a more lengthy questionnaire developed and tested by

the University of Michigan Project Choice (Williford, 1989), which was designed to examine

the relationship between academic/social integration and student attrition (Johnson, 1980;

Williford, 1989). The SIQ has been used successfully at Ohio University since the mid-1980s

to assess the relationship between academic involvement, social involvement, involvement in

activities, and commitment/satisfaction to student retention to academic outcomes. Tests have

shown that the SIQ possesses moderate to high estimates of reliability (Williford, 1989).

SIO Section One: Social Involvement

Social involvement (the number of activities and time spent in those activities) was

used to describe the degree to which the student took part in extracurricular activities (survey

question number 13) participated in cultural events (survey question number 19) and social

events (survey questions numbers 15 and 16), and the number of weekends spent on campus

per month (survey question number 14) (Williford, 1989). The mean number of hours spent

participating in activities each week during the academic year among the groups of students

ranged between 11.10 hours for community college transfer students to 27.75 hours for the
four unclassifiable students. The mean number of hours for the total sample was 12.15

hours. For native university students the mean was 12.28, hours and for other four-year

college transfer students the mean was 12.96 hours.

Students met with friends and went out for dinner and attended movies and other
social events during the academic year. The mean number of times students went out with