Transfer Students: Information Accessibility, Services, and Student Engagement





Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine M. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Steven Paulson

Third Advisor

Dr. Joyce I. Jones

Fourth Advisor

Dr. La'Tara Osborne-Lampkin

Department Chair

Dr. E. Newton. Jackson, Jr.

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


The purpose of this study was to explore to what degree Florida public, 4-year universities are supporting transfer students. This included a focus on accessibility of information for transfer students, the transfer services provided by institutions, and student engagement. This mixed-methods study included three parts. Together, the findings from each of the three aspects of the study paint a picture of the transfer student experience as it relates to services at Florida public, 4-year universities. The analysis of the data indicated that Florida public, 4-year universities are supporting transfer students better than anticipated, but, of course, there are several areas that can be improved to better serve transfer students. Part 1 findings indicated that the inclusion of special services, in addition to basic information needed to make the decision to transfer, defined the best web sites regarding information accessibility. On the contrary, omitting basic information needed by transfer students defined lower spectrum of web pages. Part 2 findings indicated that (a) academic advisors who described themselves as having a specialty or passion for one or more sub-group of college students responded with much greater detail about the college student experience than advisors who did not report a having a specialty, (b) academic advisors perceived that once transfer students were

admitted to the university these students were part of the general student body and not a subgroup with special needs, and (c) academic advisors provided recommendations for improvement in transfer student services that paralleled best practices recommended within the literature. Finally, Part 3 findings indicated that (a) contradictory to the literature, higher scores were reported by transfer students versus non-transfer students in two benchmarks and (b) the role of institutional size was statistically significant for nontransfer students but not for transfer students. In conclusion, Florida policy makers have approved policies that support a seamless transition between institutions. But the transfer transition encompasses far more than that and requires careful implementation of those policies at the institutional level. Because the Florida higher education system is based on the belief that transfer students can make the transfer transition successfully, focus on how Florida public, 4-year universities support transfer students will continue to be a priority.

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