Graduate Program

College Student Affairs

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Dena R. Kniess


This study, which was conducted at a rural, Midwestern, four-year, public institution, compared the predicted persistence and factors of persistence of successful upward transfer students, transfer students who started at a community college and then transferred to the four-year institution, and native students, students who start at a four-year institution. To be considered for participation in the study, subjects had to have at least one successful semester at the research site. A quantitative study was designed using Davidson, Beck, and Milligan's (2009) questionnaire which measures predicted persistence as well as ten factors of persistence, such as social integration and academic integration. Results of the study indicated that overall, successful upward transfer students were equally as likely to persist when compared to native students; however when looking at the factors of persistence, upward transfer students were more likely to be academically integrated into the institution than native students and native students were more likely to be socially integrated into the institution when compared to upward transfer students. Further investigation of the impact of associate's degrees revealed that there was no difference in the overall persistence of upward transfer students with and without associate's degrees. Recommendations were given to student affairs professionals to rethink ways to socially integrate upward transfer students.