Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version



A Thesis preseted to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration. Under the supervision of Professor Barbara Y. LaCost. Lincoln, Nebraska, May 2012. Copyright 2012 Sara E. Sanchez.


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to investigate and compare the freshman-year college experiences of University of Nebraska-Lincoln students based on whether they lived in a residence hall or at home with their parent(s) or guardian(s) their freshman year. Specifically, the study’s participants were students with permanent addresses of Lincoln, Nebraska; this group was selected in order to focus on the lived experiences of students who had the option between remaining to live at home or moving onto campus for their freshman year. This is not an option for all incoming UNL freshman as there is a first-year live-on requirement with few exceptions. With this in mind, this research sought to make a contribution to the literature on the relationship between college housing and first year experiences with a focus on students who could qualify for an exemption to a first year live-on requirement. Findings from the quantitative portion of the study concluded that a statistically significant difference existed in on-campus involvement between students who live in a residence hall or at home with parent(s) or guardian(s) their freshman year. Statistically significant differences were not found for GPA, work hours per week, amount of faculty and staff contact, family income, or status as a first generation college student. Findings from the qualitative portion of the study pointed to shared and differing themes among the two groups of students that influenced living choices and how these living situations positively and negatively influenced the freshman-year college experience.

Adviser: Barbara Y. LaCost