Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Writers have criticized the literature on college student involvement as being biased, starting from the premise that the residential experience is the normative one, and have called for a reexamination of the concept of student involvement. Thus in response to that need, this study explored the concept of student involvement from commuter college students' perspectives.;Focused on both Astin's theory of student involvement and Pace's work on quality of effort, it was hypothesized that there were differences between highly involved commuter college students and commuter college students who were minimally involved in the college experience. Since student involvement has both quantitative and qualitative features, the study explored the concept of student involvement by utilizing both research methods. The quantitative portion of the study applied the College Student Experiences Questionnaire. This instrument not only provided a snapshot of student involvement but also identified highly involved and minimally involved college students who served as the sample frame for the qualitative portion of the study which involved the use of field notes, semi-structures interviews, focus groups, and paper and pencil exercises.;Through a combination of a series of statistical procedures, matrix displays, content analysis, and narration, it was concluded that highly involved commuter college students differed from those students minimally involved in the college experience. Students described a variety of opportunities for involvement and perceived that the opportunity for involvement did exist on a commuter campus.;Although students who were highly involved in the college experience were diverse with regard to age, gender and other characteristics, overall, those students who were enrolled full time and were younger than 26 tended to put forth more effort toward utilizing group facilities and participating in organized activities than did part-time students and students 26 years of age or older. Furthermore, evidence was presented to suggest that a key to involvement inequities among commuter students, and between commuter and resident students may involve the difficulty in engaging in constructive peer relationships. Based on the students' experiences 13 suggestions for facilitating the involvement of commuter students were offered. Among other things it was concluded that where one lives (resident or commuter) may not be the sole determinant of one's college experience. Further research is needed with regard to this topic.



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