Dissertation

The impact of transfer assistance program on STEM students' transfer from the community college to the California State University

This mixed methods study examined the factors which impact successful vertical transfer from the community college to the California State University. In the quantitative phase, STEM students (N = 1,234) who were participants in an incentive based target outreach program, WOW2STEM, were compared to STEM students who were not program participants (N = 1,060). The analysis found that participation in the WOW2STEM program was a significant factor in predicting transfer success, but that the participant was less likely to transfer when compared to other STEM students. This study examined whether Hispanic program participants transferred at a rate similar to Hispanic students who were not in the program and found that there was no significant difference in transfer rates between Hispanic participants and non participants. The largest factors of transfer success were grade point average and highest mathematics course completed. In the qualitative phase, focus group participants shared their perceptions on the effectiveness of the program. Participants felt that the program was worthwhile, and they considered the benefits of the program valuable. The students’ primary concerns about school were constrained to matters that were outside of the focus of the WOW2STEM program, such as financial concerns and conflicts in scheduling between school and work. Understanding the factors that affect students could inform the design of future programs that could effectively increase vertical transfer.

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