Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy



Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Kent Farnsworth, Ph.D.


Kathleen Haywood, Ph.D.

Dixie Kohn, Ed.D., J.D.

Cody Ding, Ph. D.


American community colleges have become important in the pursuit of a four-year degree. The state of Missouri established an Associates of Arts degree and the 42-hour general education block option to assist students with transfer and degree completion in the shortest time possible. If articulation agreements in Missouri are promoting ease of movement through higher education systems as desired, the total number of terms and hours accumulated to the completion of a four-year degree should not vary among transfer students and native university students. Using Tinto’s Student Integration Model as a theoretical framework, this study compares the number of semesters and hours required to complete a four-year degree between native, A.A. degree transfer, and 42-hour block transfer students to determine if transfer options are aiding or impeding four-year degree completion. The study utilized data from two Missouri universities; the University of Missouri St. Louis and Missouri State University, chosen because they accept transfer students from a large number of Missouri community colleges. The independent variable was university degree completers, the two dependent variables were total number of terms and hours accumulated to a four-year degree, and the covariates were gender, ethnicity, university attended, and community college attended. The statistical test used for this study was the one-way Multivariate Analysis of Covariance. Findings indicated that for full-time students, there is a significant difference in terms and hours accumulated, with native students requiring fewer of both to complete a four-year degree than 42-hour block students, but not fewer than A.A. degree students. Results also indicated there is a significant difference in hours accumulated for part-time students to the completion of a four-year degree, with native students accumulating fewer hours than both part-time 42-hour block students and A.A. degree students. The study suggests that there are institutionally controlled factors that influence time to completion for these groups, supporting Tinto’s theoretical observations. The study found, however, that there was no significant difference in terms accumulated for the three subgroups of part-time students, and no significant difference between full-time or part-time A.A. degree students or 42-hour block students.

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