Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 4-21-2016


A THESIS Presented 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 Stephanie L. Bondi. Lincoln, Nebraska: April, 2016

Copyright © 2016 Matthew S. Geyer


In 2006-2007, there were 6.2 million community college students in the United States, making up 35% of all post-secondary students (Provasnik & Planty, 2008). Research has historically examined transfer student experiences from a community college to a four-year institution, overlooking the newly emerging population of reverse transfer students. Reverse transfer students have the potential to concurrently earn an associate and bachelor’s degree while at a four-year institution. This study contributes to the limited research regarding reverse transfer students by filling a literature gap and describing the experiences of reverse transfer students at a large, public four-year institution. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study is to examine reverse transfer students’ meaning of concurrently earning two post-secondary degrees and their motivations to choose a reverse transfer program. Three, semi-structured, informal interviews were conducted with four undergraduate students. Using a constructivist paradigm and influenced by the theoretical framework of Rendón’s validation theory, the findings indicated that communication with campus staff, a simple enrollment process, and a sense of accomplishment motivates participants to choose a reverse transfer program. Further, the pathway for reverse transfer provides meaningful validation for the participants’ abilities at the four-year institution. Finally, the fear of not earning a post secondary degree provides meaning and motivation for reverse transfer student participants. Recommendations for future research and applications for practice between personnel at the community college a four-year institution are additionally described.

Advisor: Stephanie L. Bondi