EXAMINING THE FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE THE SUCCESS OF STUDENTS WHO TRANSFER TO A FOUR-YEAR PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITY
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Researchers have attempted to understand how institutions could retain and graduate more students by proposing models to examine different relationships. A large body of research on college student persistence, retention and graduation has emerged and most of the research has been focused around the freshman experience, with little consideration given to transfer students. With the greater demand for the baccalaureate degree in the knowledge economy, the transfer function from a community college becomes important. The community college—baccalaureate transfer function is one of the most important issues for state policy makers in higher education (Wellman, 2002). Therefore, it is important to examine at the institutional level, those factors that have a significant effect on transfer student success at the four-year institution, as many community college students want to complete a bachelor’s degree but few go to the 4-year institution to do so. This study not only examined those transfer students from the community college, but also transfer students from 4-year institutions.The purpose of this study was to expand upon persistence theories and relevant studies for transfer students by focusing on their persistence and graduation at a 4-year public research university (PRU), by examining factors related to academic performance, college involvement and financial implications. A separate analysis was completed that examined data from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) to track the paths of those transfer students who left PRU before graduating to see if they enrolled in another postsecondary institution. This study analyzed institutional data using the data warehouse at the PRU. The data was collected and analyzed using the statistical software package SPSS.The results of this study will add to the literature on institutional data that involves looking at indicators for academic success of transfer students. One of the unique contributions of this study was to understand what happens to unsuccessful transfers who leave the 4-year institution (PRU) without a degree. As this study set out to shed light on what should be done at the 4-year institution (PRU) to better serve this population. Further, the information from this study could be used to address the needs of transfer students and ultimately to facilitate the admissions and transfer process at 4-year institutions.