Date of Award

June 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Higher Education


Catherine M. Engstrom


Attainment, Baccalaureate, Completion, Hybrid, Transfer, Two-year

Subject Categories



This exploratory study examined how beginning at a hybrid college that offered baccalaureate degrees while retaining its subbaccalaureate mission of associate degrees and certificates (Floyd &;; Skolnik, 2005; Lorenzo, 2005), as compared to a beginning at a two-year college, affected transfer and baccalaureate attainment. Additionally, it determined how social background, other precollege personal characteristics, external demands as students enter college, and experiences during college affected transfer rates and baccalaureate attainment in the same manner as Dougherty and Kienzl (2006).

This study assumed a quasiexperimental design with an ex post facto, causal-comparative case control analysis (Sprinthall, 2003). It used information from the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) Longitudinal Study (NCES, 2008a) and the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS) of 1988 (NCES, 2008b) and data was collected from 60 hybrid or treatment colleges and 469 two-year or control colleges where students had begun their postsecondary education. The treatment groups consisted of 149 students from the BPS dataset and 230 students from the NELS dataset. The control groups had 1,168 students from the BPS dataset and 2,354 students from the NELS dataset.

Descriptive statistics and chi-square analyses were used to understand the differences between the treatment group and the control group in relation to transfer and baccalaureate attainment. Additionally, Pearson correlation and bivariate analyses via logistic regression were used to further understand transfer and baccalaureate attainment overall by controlling for students’ background characteristics.

Students who attended hybrid colleges were significantly less likely to transfer (with mixed results between the chi-squared and logistic regressions), had a significantly higher likelihood of attaining baccalaureate degrees when combining the first and second degree attained, and had a significantly higher likelihood of obtaining a baccalaureate degree overall—even when the results controlled for a number of potentially confounding background and experiential factors— than students who attended two-year colleges. These results provided preliminary evidence for the need for further investigation in examining the influence of hybrid colleges on student transfer patterns and baccalaureate attainment.


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