Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Education

Department

Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. Jane Jensen

Abstract

“Transfer student capital” refers to the learned ability of a student to successfully navigate the process of transferring from a community college to a four-year school. Transfer student capital is accumulated by gathering information about potential destination schools and programs, gaining an understanding of requisite academic skills, campus engagement, and weighing personal concerns surrounding eventual transfer. The more transfer student capital an individual accumulates, the more likely they are to be academically successful and persist to graduation.

This quantitative study examines whether a student’s age cohort may affect the transfer process from community college to a four-year school. The study examines whether age plays a role in the accumulation of transfer student capital and explores the utility of developing targeted intervention and support for transfer students based on their generation.

A survey instrument administered to all degree-seeking students in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System asked questions about intent to transfer to a four-year school, methods of collecting information about transfer destinations, usage of transfer-related campus services, and concerns about the transfer process. Demographic characteristics were collected as well. Approximately 5,000 valid responses resulted from this administration.

Results suggest that age cohort does have an effect on a student’s intent to transfer – a student’s reported intent tends to decrease with each subsequent cohort. However, this decrease was shown to be an indirect effect. Participating in actions through which transfer student capital is accumulated had a more proximal effect on reported intent to transfer. Students in older age cohorts were shown to access fewer services and exhibit behaviors through which a student accumulates transfer student capital while in community college, which, in turn, decreases their level of transfer intent.

Additionally, many of the demographic characteristics associated with “at-risk” students: first generation status, racial/ethnic background, family structure, etc. were shown to be statistically non-significant on a student’s intent to transfer in comparison to the accumulation of transfer student capital. This result suggests that the benefits of wraparound support programs stem from the proximity of transfer student capital-building activities to a student, rather than the characteristics of the particular group being served.