The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 14

Amber D. Dumford, Amy K. Ribera, Angie L. Miller

Another important concern is that much of the
literature exploring the benefits of residence
halls and on-campus living is increasingly becoming outdated.
The current study sought to explore
whether various living situations, in terms of
on-campus versus off-campus arrangements
and the number and type of people with whom
students live, influence perceptions of peer
belonging and institutional acceptance of firstyear and senior students, after controlling for
other factors. If students with certain demographic characteristics are already at risk for
lower sense of belonging in either sense, then
institutions may need to intervene through a
focus on positive forms of involvement and
residential options. Additionally, knowing the
benefits of certain living situations can provide
evidence to secure resource allocation in
support of residential facilities. Student affairs
professionals can use this knowledge to make
actionable changes in programming and resource allocation at their institutions.

METHOD
The data in this study were drawn from the
2014 administration of the National Survey of
Student Engagement (NSSE). The core NSSE
instrument asks students where they live in
relation to campus (residence hall or other
campus housing, fraternity or sorority house,
residence within walking distance to the institution, residence farther than walking distance
to the institution, or none of the above) as well
as about various demographic characteristics.
For the purposes of our analyses, the first two
categories of residence hall or other campus
housing and fraternity or sorority house were
collapsed to create an "on-campus" category.
14

Additional items were appended to the end of
the core survey to ask students about how their
sense of belonging and acceptance was supported in various social and academic spaces.

MEASURES
Specifically, the extra items asked students to
rate their level of agreement with the following: being able to make friends easily, feeling
like they fit in at the institution, having other
students share their views and beliefs, being
noticed if they missed class, ease of getting
involved in student clubs and organizations,
having very few friends and acquaintances at
the institution, faculty getting to know them,
and being treated as an individual by the institution. The response options for these items were
a 4-point Likert-type scale from "strongly agree"
to "strongly disagree," with a "not applicable"
option. "Not applicable" responses were excluded from the analyses in order to treat these
items as ordinal-level variables. These items
were developed using a review of past literature
and consultation with experts in the field.
Rather than look at each item individually,
data reduction techniques were used to identify potential subscales within the additional
item set. Results of an exploratory factor analysis (using a principal component analysis with
oblique rotation on half of the sample) suggested that these items produced two distinct
scales describing students' sense of peer belonging and institutional acceptance, based on
factor loadings and Cronbach's alphas (Appendix A). The confirmatory factor analysis (using
the other half of the sample) established that
the 2-factor solution showed very good model
fit (first-year: χ2 = 15.329; senior: χ2 = 17.608).
Because traditional measures of model fit are
sensitive to sample size, a variety of other fit

THE JOURNAL OF COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY STUDENT HOUSING



The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Cover1
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