California state education officials have become increasingly concerned about the growing achievement gaps and low graduation rates for the state’s public colleges and universities. In an attempt to lessen these gaps and improve graduation rates, the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act (Star Act) was implemented in 2011. The purpose of this study is to determine whether the student demographics of sex, race, and socioeconomic status have had a statistically significant impact on student graduation rates, specifically those of students who transferred into the California State University (CSU) system. Have underrepresented minorities equally benefitted from the implementation of the STAR Act? Using six academic years (AY) of data (AY2011-12 to AY2016-17), this research sought to examine the act’s impact in three California regions by sex, race, and socioeconomic status. It focused on three regions (northern, central, and southern), where community colleges are 15 miles or less from the regional CSU. Since Texas has comparable demographics, this study also compared the outcomes from 23 California State Universities to 21 comparable Texas Universities based on overall graduation rates and graduation rates on the basis of sex and race. A causal comparative research was employed. The study found that race and socioeconomic status, but not sex, affect degree attainment among transfer students in California. Sex was determined to be a statistically significant predictor for the number of years required to obtain a degree. A significant relationship was determined to exist between the region of the university attended and degree attainment, with students in the southern region obtaining significantly more degrees than would be otherwise be expected. While there are many similarities between California and Texas’ higher education systems, for the 5- and 6-year graduation rates, California had a significantly higher rate of degree attainment than Texas. The findings of this study provide empirical evidence that the recent interventions in higher education in California have not been universally effective with regard to increasing the attainment of a bachelor’s degree for community college transfer students. Transfer students’ degree attainment in California also appears to be heavily dependent on the specific, nonacademic factors of race and socioeconomic status.
|Advisor:||Street, Brian D.|
|Commitee:||Stark, John, Schultz, Randolph|
|School:||California State University, Bakersfield|
|Department:||DPEL (Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership)|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 81/2(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Educational administration, Education Policy|
|Keywords:||Associate degree for transfer, California community college, Senate bill 1440, STAR Act, Student transfer achievement reform act, Transfer|
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