Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Academic Discipline

Community College Leadership


The intent of this study was to shed light on the reasons and factors that influence the decision for community college graduates to complete a bachelor’s degree at a private, not-for-profit university. In addition, this study sought to identify and describe why students persist during degree completion programs, as well as the inhibitors and facilitators found throughout such programs.

This research was built on the qualitative research paradigm employing semi-structured interviews and focus groups to investigate how the elements of motivation theory influenced students to complete a bachelor’s degree program. The findings from the study validate that students are motivated to complete a bachelor’s degree when support is provided in the form of faculty and staff advice and encouragement from both the sending and receiving institutions.

Implications resulting from the data analysis include the following: (a) a greater degree of collaboration needs to be initiated between the sending institution (community college) and receiving institution (university) transfer personnel; (b) individual colleges at the receiving institution should consider employing specific personnel to serve transfer students interested in bachelor’s degree programs within each college; and (c) some form of learning communities should be developed specifically for transfer students at the university to help smooth the transition from community college to university student.

The primary recommendation for improvement is for the university to consider the creation of an Information and Service Center for Transfer Students. Transfer students would have access to trained counselors who could help the student find available resources to help in completing the bachelor’s degree program of choice. A recommendation for further research is investigating the success of transfer students as compared to non-transfer students in terms of degree completion success.