The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 20

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

result in a lower perception of their peer belonging (first-year: B = -.31, p < .001; senior: B =
-.09 and -.38, p < .001) and institutional acceptance (first-year: B = -.17 and -.42, p < .001;
senior: B = -.32 and -.64, p < .001). Additionally,
membership in a fraternity or sorority had positive effects for both peer belonging (first-year:
B = .26, p < .001; senior: B = .27, p < .001) and
institutional acceptance (first-year: B = .16, p <
.001; senior: B = .18, p < .001).

. . . the finding that traditional age
seniors reported higher levels of
peer belonging could suggest, not
surprisingly, that students who go
through the college experience
together are more likely to bond
with one another.

Institutional Characteristics
All four of the characteristics concerning
institutional type had significant effects in
at least two of the models. For example, attending a private institution resulted in a significant positive relationship with perceptions
of peer belonging (first-year: B = .16, p < .01;
senior: B = .18, p < .001) and institutional acceptance (first-year: B = .42, p < .001; senior:
B = .24, p < .001). Attendance at an MSI had
a slightly negative relationship with peer belonging (first-year: B = -.17, p < .01; senior: B =
-.11, p < .05), although this effect may be due
to the large percentage of White students in
the overall sample. Students attending more
selective institutions reported lower peer belonging (first-year: B = -.03, p < .01; senior:
B = -.06, p < .001), but higher institutional
acceptance for first-years (B = .03, p < .001).
Finally, those at Master's institutions reported
a lower level of peer belonging than did their
Baccalaureate counterparts (first-year: B = -.12,
p < .05; senior: B = -.09, p < .05), and those
at institutions of all other Carnegie classifications reported lower levels than did their
Baccalaureate peers for institutional acceptance (first-year: B ranging from -.11 to -.63,
p ranging from <.05 to <.001; senior: B
ranging from -.12 to -.73, p < .001).
20

LIMITATIONS
There are several limitations to this study that
must be considered when interpreting the
results and generalizing the findings. First,
although the sample comprised a wide range
of students attending multiple institutions,
it is not representative of all first-year and
senior students enrolled in four-year colleges
and universities in the United States. Higher
education institutions elect to participate in
the NSSE for a variety of reasons, mainly for
institutional improvement, which may impact
the context of the institutional experience.
However, the institutions receiving the additional item set were randomly selected, and
the overall NSSE 2014 participants do mirror
the national picture of institutions on a variety
of characteristics (National Survey of Student
Engagement, 2014).
A second limitation is that, given the research design, we were unable to test for
causal relationships between living situation
and sense of belonging. The results can only
confirm whether or not they are associated.
It is possible that students who have a higher
sense of peer belonging or institutional accep-

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
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