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Predictors of Completion : The Influence of Academic and Non-Academic Environmental Factors on Baccalaureate Completion Among Community College Transfer Students Public Deposited

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  • Research examining disparity between baccalaureate completion among "native" and community college transfer students has gained attention in recent years. Current and prior research has identified important pre-college and demographic characteristics with a positive relationship to baccalaureate completion. Yet few studies have focused on the influence of nonacademic and academic environmental factors specific to first time beginning community college transfers. The theoretical perspectives guiding this quantitative study included Bean and Metzner's (1985) Conceptual Model of Nontraditional Undergraduate Student Attrition and Astin’s (1984) I+E=O model and Theory of Involvement. Drawing upon data from the Beginning Postsecondary Student Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/09), this study investigated the relationship between a set of theoretically grounded variables and the baccalaureate completion of community college first time beginners who first accessed postsecondary education during the fall of 2003-2004. The final analytical sample for this study included 6,300 panel respondents whose first institution of higher education was a public 2-year college and who subsequently transferred to a 4-year institution and earned a bachelor's degree by June 2009. Binary logistic regression was applied using PowerStats which is the online statistical tool used by NCES. The findings suggest that the following seven factors have a statistically significant positive relationship to baccalaureate completion among community college transfer students over six years: student postsecondary plans that include transfer to a 4-year institution, high school grade point average, meeting with faculty outside the classroom, meeting often with an academic advisor, parental education, part-time employment while enrolled, and student baccalaureate aspirations. The findings of this study should be of interest to policymakers at the state and national levels and with key stakeholders in two and four year colleges in expanding the support and collaboration among all institutions of higher education as they seek to continue facilitating the transfer process and promote long-term educational success for community college transfer student baccalaureate aspirants.
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