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ERIC Number: ED569087
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 224
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3038-9089-5
A Multi-Institutional Study of Black and Latina/o Community College Students' Transfer Intentions: A Theory of Planned Behavior Reconceptualization
Nellum, Christopher James
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Michigan
Community colleges currently enroll over one-third of all undergraduates and serve as the gateway to postsecondary education for increasing numbers of Americans in the 21st century, especially students of color. A significant portion of community college students aspire to transfer to a four-year college or university, but only 23% to 40% make this transition within six years of initial enrollment with disturbing racial/ethnic disparities. Existing studies offer sociological explanations for the persistent disparity in upward transfer rates between White community college students and lower rates for African American and Latino community college students. This "racial/ethnic transfer gap" is especially troubling because African American and Latino students not only rely disproportionately on community colleges for higher education access, but also report similar transfer aspirations to Whites upon entry. The present theory-driven study aims to better explicate the social psychological factors that motivate community college students interested in upward transfer. This study seeks to better understand whether the constructs central to the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) explain variation in African American and Latino students' intentions to transfer from a community college to a four-year college or university. Structural equation modeling was used with a sample of 154 African American and 831 Latino community college students enrolled at 6 institutions across the United States to test and extend the theory of planned behavior. Additional questions assessed whether policy-relevant collegiate experiences such as length of enrollment at a college, participation in developmental education, or perceptions of transfer climate moderate intentions to transfer. Study findings support the importance of racial/ethnic-specific patterns, with clear distinctions between TPB predictors of transfer intentions for African American and Latino students. For Latino community college students, transfer intentions were predicted from attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control; however, the model was only significant and meaningful for the Latino sample but not for African Americans. For the Latino students, significant attitudes reflected underlying beliefs about the instrumentality of transfer (e.g., leading to a better job and increased self-worth); subjective norms reflected expectations of non- academic (e.g., family members and close friends) and academic (e.g., counselors and faculty members) individuals; and control considerations included lack of academic capacity (e.g., study skills and developmental coursework) and financial constraints (e.g., insufficient money). The results also show that students who participated in developmental education courses or had a positive perception of transfer climate report differences in intentions to transfer. Future research should go beyond TPB concepts to better understand social psychological mechanisms that motivate transfer intentions for African American community college students. The theory-driven findings on Latino community college students have important policy-relevant implications for targeted interventions to improve and support intentions to transfer and for future research on upward transfer. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A