An Examination of Commuter and Residential Student Time Allocation and Relationship to Student Retention
thesisposted on 2013-06-28, 00:00 authored by Michael M. Landek
Over the past five decades, numerous theories about college student attrition have attempted to explain student departure. Conclusions drawn by the literature broadly acknowledge that students are less likely to depart if they are academically engaged and socially integrated with the campus. Further, students who reside in a campus residence hall are less likely to depart. The literature further informs us that the activities that residential students engage in while living on campus positively affect persistence, resulting in improved student retention in comparison with their commuter counterparts. Understanding how commuter students allocate their time as compared to residential students may reveal important differences. At the institution where the study was conducted, residential students have generally persisted to the second year at a higher rate than commuter students. This study examined how these two groups allocate their time for academic and social engagements using data from the College Student Experiences Questionnaire, as well as from focus groups. This study found that time allocation behaviors between the two groups were significantly different. The study did not however, find a correlation between time allocation behaviors and first-to-second year persistence. The findings did reveal important questions for future research and implications for programs and policies that may help commuters more effectively allocate their time, with the longer term goal of improving commuter student retention.