Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

PhD Higher Education Leadership, Management, Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Rong Chen, Ph.D

Committee Member

Martin Finkelstein, Ph.D

Committee Member

Robert Kelchen, Ph.D


student engagement, transfer students, NSSE, horizontal transfers, vertical transfers


The purpose of this study is to examine whether transfer status and type matter for student engagement and if so, what student characteristics affect this relationship. Data from senior students at four-year institutions across the United States who completed the National Survey for Student Engagement (NSSE) in 2009 were used. Descriptive statistics and multiple regression were employed to explore the relationship between transfer type, student characteristics and student engagement by benchmark. The findings of this study suggest that with the exception of academic challenge, native students show higher levels of student engagement on the active and collaborative learning, student-faculty interaction, enriching educational experiences and supportive campus environment. Within the student population subgroups, overall native students are more engaged than horizontal and vertical transfers. Student characteristics, such as race, gender, GPA, and major are all found to be associated with student engagement.