Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education

First Advisor

Neal H. Hutchens

Second Advisor

Whitney Webb

Third Advisor

Amanda Winburn


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



At a four-year university located in the Mid-South region of the United States, students who transfer do so with the likelihood of spending more time and money completing a baccalaureate degree than non-transfer students. This is what research scholar Kevin Dougherty (1992) entitled the Baccalaureate Attainment Gap or the transfer gap. In this companion dissertation, using a multi-method approach, we use the quantitative data of transfer student graduation and retention rates along with qualitative data from interviews conducted with administrative staff about transfer student success. We consider these selected outcomes and administrative staff interviews to be institutional factors that help shape the transfer gap. Framed using the student departure theory, enactment theory, and critical race theory, we contend that these institutional factors affect transfer student success.

The overall summary of data confirms that the 4-year graduation rates examined in this Dissertation in Practice indicate that transfer students are graduating on average at a higher percentage of 64.4% on MSU regional campuses. There are fewer transfer student resources on the regional campuses than the Mid-South Central campus that graduates on average of 60.0 % transfer students.

Regional campuses are showing the highest 4-year graduation rate of 70.5% during cohort 2014. MSU central and regional campuses 4-year graduation rates are elevated to 64.0% when averages are combined.



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