Commuter students, or students who do not live in institutionally owned or operated housing, have consistently struggled to persist to graduation. Since commuter students make up the collegiate majority, identifying ways to support this student population's academic success is imperative. Because of the positive association between social integration and student persistence, this study examined the relationship between student involvement in extracurricular activities and sense of belonging among commuter students at 4-year institutions set in urban areas. Student involvement and sense of belonging were measured using scales from the fourth edition of the College Student Experiences Questionnaire (CSEQ). A random sample of 712 was drawn from the 2012 administration of the CSEQ. Structural equation modeling, including latent means and multiple group analyses, was used to answer the study's research questions. The findings suggest that commuter student involvement mirrors Astin's theory of student involvement; sense of belonging is heavily influenced by meaningful relationships with faculty and administrators; there is a positive relationship between student involvement and sense of belonging; parental education, race, transfer status, and employment patterns are background characteristics that account for student subgroup differences; and employment patterns impact student involvement, sense of belonging, and the relationship between these variables. These findings can inform institutional practice and direct future research efforts in order to further support the commuter student population.
|Advisor:||Malcom-Piqueux, Lindsey E.|
|Commitee:||Jakeman, RIck C., Sonn, Andrew, Weiss, Brandi A., Whitaker, Roger|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Higher Education Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational sociology, Education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Commuter students, Sense of belonging, Social integration, Student involvement|
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