Differences in degree completion between at-risk commuter students and at-risk residence hall students at a proprietary institution in New York State
Higher education is no longer a privilege for a select few; rather, it is an opportunity for all individuals to develop social, intellectual and career skills that will empower them to build successful and productive lives. With changing admissions standards, individuals who traditionally would have been denied access to postsecondary education are now offered the opportunity to participate in higher education under the aegis of support programs designed to foster a structured environment where the atypical student can succeed. The complexity of their needs is intensified when this cohort opts to reside in campus facilities, rather than commute. The challenges they face are multiplied exponentially as they attempt to compete academically, socially, and financially with mainstreamed students who enter postsecondary studies with adequate preparation and fiscal support. Can the at-risk residential life student cope with a new environment in addition to the rigors of college level study? This research, using case study methodology, examined the characteristics of a cohort of academically underprepared and financially challenged students in order to determine why a greater number of at-risk commuter students reached degree completion in a proprietary institution in New York State than at-risk residence life students. Documentation from official school records and anecdotal accounts as well as the actual interview of four students provided the basis for the research. Based upon a careful analysis of all information, the researcher reached the conclusion that a stable environment, no matter what it is, seems to be the factor in resiliency and the commitment for at-risk students to persist in college.
0745: Higher education