An Examination of Residential Status and Educational Satisfaction

College StudentsEducational satisfaction is thought to be an influential factor in career success and future educational achievement (Elliott & Healy, 2001). Many studies have evaluated the differences between commuter and residential students, often citing the advantages residential students have over commuter students (Bowman & Partin, 1993).

The current study seeks to evaluate differences in educational satisfaction between commuter and residential students through secondary data analysis of the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). NSSE assesses a variety of educational experiences; this includes students’ perceptions on how supportive the environment is (academic support, well-being resources, career management, etc.). In analyzing the differences between residential students and commuter students, a t-test revealed that residential students tend to perceive their educational environment as more supportive, t(612)=- 2.31, p=.02.

A Chi Square Test of Independence (Residential Status x Satisfied/Not Satisfied) found that there are significant differences between commuters and residential students on their educational satisfaction, χ2(1) = 10.46, p = .01, with residential students reporting a higher rate of satisfaction. These findings support the theory that commuters and residential students differ in a variety of facets.

Commuter students are reporting more negative perceptions of the university’s support than residential students, and this could be contributing to their lower educational satisfaction reports. The implications of the gap in satisfaction between commuter and residential students should be seriously considered by universities; addressing these concerns with more initiatives focusing on commuter students.

Authors:Bryan Stites & Kaitlyn Bleiweiss

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