Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version


Document Type



Bloomquist, E. S. (2014). Developing a sense of belonging for commuter students: A mixed methods study. (Master's Thesis). University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska.


A THESIS presented to the faculty of the graduate college at the University of Nebraska for partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration. Under the supervision of James Griesen. Lincoln, Nebraska: May 2014

Copyright (c) 2014 Eric S Bloomquist


In this mixed methods study, the researcher explored the experiences of commuter freshmen at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln—a large, four-year, public institution. Specifically, he sought to better understand how commuter freshmen feel that they belong on their residential campus and what they report as their greatest needs in order to succeed. Using a quantitative survey returned from a sample of 92 students (n = 92), he found that a majority of the commuter freshmen did report feelings of belonging. Additionally, responses relating to feelings of not belonging were correlated with lower first-semester self-reported GPAs. In a follow-up Nominal Group Technique session, the researcher asked participants about their greatest challenges and suggestions for the university to help them meet their needs. The results of this session echoed much of the existing literature in that commuter students need reliable parking and transportation, natural avenues to make connections outside of their classes, and better and more frequent communications from the university. This document provides information from existing literature on the topic, explains the methods utilized in the present study, reports relevant findings from the survey and Nominal Group Technique session, and discusses the implications from these findings as they relate to higher education practice.

Advisor: James V. Griesen