Immigrant-Origin Students in Community College: How Do They Use Their Time on Campus?
by Edwin Hernandez, Carola Suárez-Orozco, Janet Cerda, Olivia Osei-Twumasi, Monique Corral, Yuliana Garcia, Dalal Katsiaficas & Nidia Ruedas-Gracia - 2019
Background: Immigrant-origin students are the fastest growing new population in community colleges, making up nearly a third of the community college population. To date, little is known about how immigrant-origin students make use of their time on community college campuses.
Purpose: This study sought to understand in what ways and to what extent immigrant-origin students—defined as first-generation (foreign-born) or second-generation (born in the United States to immigrant parents)—used their out-of-class campus time at three urban community colleges. We examined the following quantitative questions: How much time do students report spending on campus doing what activities? What is the demographic variation in these patterns (according to immigrant generation, ethnicity/race, and gender)? What factors predict how much overall time immigrant-origin students spend on campus? What is the effect of academically productive time spent on campus on grade point average for immigrant-origin students? We also explored the following qualitative questions: What do immigrant-origin community college students say about the time they spend on campus? What insights do they have as to what impedes or facilitates their spending (or not spending) time on campus?
Research Design: The study proposed a new conceptual framework and employed an embedded sequential explanatory mixed-methods design approach. As part of a survey, participants (N = 644, 54.6% women; M age = 20.2 years; first-generation immigrant n = 213, 33%; second-generation immigrant n = 275, 43%) completed a series of items about the time that they spent on campus and their relationships with their instructors and peers. Qualitative response data were derived from an embedded interview subsample of participants (n = 58).
Results: Immigrant-origin students reported spending a considerable amount of out-of-class time—an average of 9.2 hours—on campus. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated that peer relationships and time spent helping parents or commuting positively predicted the amount of time students spent on campus. Qualitative responses provided further insights into immigrant-origin community college student experiences and provided perspectives on issues contributing to their spending out-of-class time on campus.
Conclusions: This study has implications for research, practice, and policy, given that immigrant-origin students make considerable use of their campus spaces. Community colleges should strive to nurture positive spaces and design the kind of on-campus programming that will enhance the success of immigrant-origin students. Collectively, these services will not only enhance the experience of immigrant-origin students but also be beneficial to the larger campus community that uses the community college sector as a stepping-stone toward upward social and economic mobility.
Why would you want to do research on students experiences in community college settings? Our students hardly spend any time on campus.
Dr. Smith,1 college administrator
This remark reflects a prevailing view held by both campus administrators and researchers that community college students spend little time on campus when they are not in class (Astin, 1999). In higher education, student engagement is broadly defined as the time and energy students invest in educationally purposeful activities and the effort institutions devote to using effective educational practices (Kuh, Cruce, Shoup, Kinzie, & Gonyea, 2008, p. 5). On the student side of this equation, the implication is that these efforts occur on campus both inside and outside the classroom (Astin, 1993; Kuh et al., 2008; McClenney & Marti, 2006). Extensive research in higher education has found that student engagement on campus is predictive of persistence for mainstream students attending four-year institutions (Elkins, Braxton, & James, 2000; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). Thus, understanding how students invest their time on campus may be important for solving the puzzle of what factors contribute to academic success both at four-year institutions (Harper & Quaye, 2015) and in community college settings (Martinez, Acevedo-Gil, & Murillo Jr, 2017; Saenz, Hatch, Bukoski, Kim, Lee, & Valdez, 2011).
Much of the research considering student engagement has been conducted in residential four-year colleges and universities, however, with a focus on the traditional student populations they serve (Valentine et al., 2009). Exploring the relationships among engagement (as measured by use of out-of-class time spent on campus), student demographics (e.g., ethnicity, immigrant generation), and personal characteristics (e.g., study skills) is important given that little is known about the rapidly growing immigrant-origin student populationdefined as first-generation (foreign-born) or second-generation (born in the United States to foreign-born parents) immigrants2attending community colleges (Suárez-Orozco, Yoshikawa, Teranishi, & Suárez-Orozco, 2011).
Presently, more than 12 million students attend 1,103 community colleges nationwide (American Association of Community Colleges [AACC], 2018). Community colleges provide an important pathway to higher education for a largely diverse, nontraditional student population. Many nontraditional students view their involvement in this postsecondary venue as an opportunity to reintegrate into a school environment and reinvent themselves as educated and engaged members of society (Rose, 2012). Nontraditional community college students are often older and more ethnically and linguistically diverse than more typical students (AACC, 2018). They juggle multiple concurrent life obligations such as work and family responsibilities while attending college (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015; Teranishi, Suárez-Orozco, & Suárez-Orozco, 2011), and they may be less academically prepared than traditional students (Deil-Amen, 2015). Many immigrant-origin students share these burdens with other nontraditional students (Deil-Amen, 2015) and also must contend with issues such as additional family responsibilities, language acquisition challenges, and undocumented status (Suárez-Orozco et al., 2011).
Although immigrant-origin community college students are resilient, these factors might pose a challenge to their successful engagement with college (Center for Community College Student Engagement [CCCSE], 2010; Harper & Quaye, 2009; Saenz et al., 2011), which may in turn affect students academic performance. It is important to investigate whether accepted models of engagement hold true for this population (Rendon, Jalomo, & Nora, 2000). Hence, this study sought to describe to what degree and in what ways immigrant-origin students engage with campus life (as measured by time spent on campus participating in specific activities outside of class) in order to examine group differences and the links between immigrant-origin students engagement on campus and their academic performance as measured by grade point average (GPA) and to provide insights into immigrant-origin students reasons for spending (or not spending) time on campus.
WHY TIME? THEORIES OF STUDENT ENGAGEMENT, INVOLVEMENT, AND INTEGRATION
Within the higher education literature, a tangled web of [inter-related] terms (Wolf-Wendel, Ward, & Kinzie, 2009, p. 407), including engagement, involvement, and integration, has been used when considering both institutional and student dimensions to explain student success and persistence. In each of the following theories, the amount of time invested in a variety of campus activities has been thought to either play an important role or simply act as a proxy for the concept of engagement at the student level.
Engagement theory suggests that at the institutional level, providing well-considered opportunities for students to invest their time (both academically and socially) and to use spaces (e.g., the library, tutoring center, gym, and so on) on campus is important. At the student level, considering how and in what ways students spend their time is important (Kuh et al., 2006). Research has shown that institutions can influence students engagement by providing enhanced support services, an effort that results in improved student outcomes (Saenz et al., 2011).
Addressing related issues in his theory of involvement, Astin (1984, 2001) stated that having positive experiences with faculty, peers, and work is important for enhancing cognitive and affective development as well as for learning, academic performance, and retention (Astin, 1984). Using Astins categories, researchers have considered what motivates students to become involved on campus when they are not in class and how much time they spend with faculty, peers, work, and other activities as a proxy for engagement (Saenz et al., 2011).
Similarly, Tintos (1993) integration theory argues that dedicating time to engage with social and intellectual communities at college helps students receive support and feel a sense of membershipfactors that are vital for student retention. Tintos model has been widely applied to predict the persistence rather than the departure of mainstream students at four-year institutions (Elkins et al., 2000; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005; Tinto, 1993).
However, given the changing demographics on college campuses, scholars have questioned the applicability of Tintos theory to non-White, nontraditional student populations (Tierney, 1992). Some scholars have argued that Tintos model employs an assimilation/acculturation framework that recommends that racial/ethnic minority students integrate into the dominant White culture of American society while excluding heritage cultures and traditions (Attisani, 1989; Kraemer, 1997; Rendon et al., 2000; Tierney, 1992). Others have suggested that Tintos model identifies students external commitments (e.g., family, work, and friends outside of school) as barriers to academic commitments and goals. Thus, scholars have called for a more critical and conscientious analysis of the issues related to engagement, persistence, and retention of racial/ethnic minority students in higher education (Rendon et al., 2000; Tierney, 1992).
We drew on the aforementioned literature to study how immigrant-origin community college students invested their time on campus. To do so, we examined the hours students reported they had spent commuting, working, and helping their parents to explore students responsibilities outside of campus and how they related to the amount of time they spent on campus outside of class.
AN INTEGRATIVE CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE IMMIGRANT-ORIGIN STUDENTS USE OF TIME
Next, we present a conceptual model that builds from the theories reviewed in the previous section and from seminal research (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Integrative theoretical model of use of time for community college immigrant-origin students
STUDENT NONCAMPUS CONSIDERATIONS
On the left in Figure 1 is the set of demographic characteristics that students bring with them as they arrive on campusStudent Non-Campus Considerations. In this study, these demographic characteristics include immigrant generation, gender, and race/ethnicity. Research has suggested that first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students, especially students from Latin American and Asian backgrounds (Fuligni, Tseng, & Lam, 1999; Hardway & Fuligni, 2006), might have high levels of concurrent external commitments and responsibilities (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015; Tseng, 2004; Vasquez-Salgado, Greenfield, & Burgos-Cienfuegos, 2014), often helping their parents with their jobs or working in a family business (Portes & Rumbaut, 1996; Tseng, 2004; Valenzuela, 1998). Furthermore, other research examining racial/ethnic group differences of involvement in the community college setting has shown that African Americans and Hispanics have reported higher levels of involvement than their White peers (Greene, Marti, & McClenney, 2008). Second, research has shown differences across gender. For instance, family assistance and external commitments may be more important for some immigrant-origin female students than for their male counterparts (Crouter, Head, Bumpus, & McHale, 2001; Telzer & Fuligni, 2009).
In addition to the external commitments they bring to campus, immigrant-origin students bring a wide array of study skills (Teranishi et al., 2011). Research has shown that immigrant-origin youth who have family responsibilities are more likely to spend more time studying and are more likely to have higher educational aspirations than non-immigrant-origin students (Fuligni et al., 1999). However, once immigrant-origin youth transition into college, it can be especially difficult for them to balance academic demands with family responsibilities and work duties that are off campus (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015; Tseng, 2004). These expectations of having to support family members are a lifelong obligation for many immigrant-origin students because they are counted on to spend a considerable amount of time with their family members and to be sources of emotional, financial, and practical support for them (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015; Tseng, 2004). Thus, some researchers have argued that assisting family members may be stressful and may distract immigrant-origin students from their schoolwork. This body of research suggests that family obligations are related to having less time for studying (Telzer & Fuligni, 2009) and to potentially spending less time spent on campus, which may in turn negatively affect academic achievement (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas et al., 2015; Tseng, 2004; Vasquez-Salgado et al., 2014). Some researchers contend, however, that it is the act of helping on more days, rather than the amount of time [spent] helping, that may be associated with poorer achievement (Telzer & Fuligni, 2009, p. 568). Notably, in addition to those external commitments, these students face long, inconvenient commutes (Borglum & Kubala, 2000; Horn & Berktold, 1998) and may experience financial difficulties (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015). Therefore, the ways in which immigrant-origin students negotiate those external influences in college are important for student engagement and success.
Returning to our model, in the middle of Figure 1 are Campus Engagement factors. We suggest that time spent on campus should include a consideration of productive class time (which would include not only the hours spent in class but also the quality of the interactions and instruction in those classes) (Alicea, Suárez-Orozco, Singh, Darbes, & Abrica, 2016). In addition, time spent outside of class in community colleges (as in four-year colleges) is likely divided between academically productive out-of-class time (which may be linked to better academic outcomes), social out-of-class time (which may be linked to affective attachment to the campus and potential persistence), and nonacademically productive out-of-class time (which may consist of time spent taking care of student- or campus-related business [i.e., financial aid, registrar] or time spent alone) that may be necessary but is not directly linked to better academic or social outcomes.
Although time spent on campus studying or using campus resources may be tangibly linked to grades, the social expenditures are more likely associated with affective connection and affiliation, which in turn are more likely connected to longer term persistence (Hurtado & Carter, 1997). A large-scale survey study based on University of California undergraduates specifically examined the use of student time. It divided time use into three separate time binaries and then examined their relationship to academic outcomes (Brint & Cantwell, 2010). These binaries were (1) study versus nonstudy time, (2) active (e.g., volunteering or exercising) versus passive time (e.g., watching TV or playing video games), and (3) connecting (e.g., hanging out with peers on campus) versus separating time (e.g., being alone or off campus). Not surprisingly, after controlling for previous academic achievements, socioeconomic status, and psychosocial stress, time focused on studying was most predictive of academic conscientiousness and of grades. Social time had a weak connection to conscientiousness but not to grades, and there was no relationship to grades for any of the other factors, with the exception of work, which was negatively associated with grades (Brint & Cantwell, 2010). This study sheds some light on the tangible importance of the concrete dimensions of time spent on campus, but it is limited in its applicability to community colleges because it is based on students in a network of competitive four-year public institutions.
In addition, Saenz and colleagues (2011) analysis of the Community College Survey of Student Engagement has demonstrated that students use support services on campus to engage, especially when they make use of student services such as the library, counseling services, the financial aid office, and tutoring programs three or more times per semester (Saenz et al., 2011). Thus, time spent productively on campus making use of student services was a strong indicator of student engagement, in part shifting the responsibility to institutions to create more opportunities for engagement that might encourage community college students to spend more time on campus. An important point here, however, is that quality of time (or how time is spent)not just length of time spentmatters.
On the right side of the conceptual model are Student Outcomes, including grades and persistence. Research has shown that community college students are more at risk of leaving college early and not persisting in their schooling (Handel, 2007; Ma & Baum, 2016; Wang, 2016). Therefore, exploring how they use their time on campus is important to better understand how to enhance their success.
In sum, the community college literature has demonstrated that levels of student engagement are affected by individual factors, including ethnicity, gender, and the number of times that a student makes use of student services such as tutoring and academic advising (CCCSE, 2010; Harper & Quaye, 2009; Saenz et al., 2011). Moreover, although a significant body of research has suggested that student engagement has promising implications for student outcomes and persistence in four-year colleges, especially for racial/ethnic minority and academically underprepared first-generation-to-attend-college students (Cruce, Wolniak, Seifert, & Pascarella, 2006; Greene et al., 2008; Harper & Quaye, 2015; Kuh et al., 2008), limited research has focused on these constructs vis-à-vis community colleges (but see Saenz et al., 2011, for an exception), and even fewer focused on immigrant-origin studentsthe fastest growing population of community college studentsin these settings.
The purpose of this study is to quantify how much time immigrant-origin community college students reported spending on campus in order to explore the links between use of time and academic outcomes (as measured by GPA) and to qualitatively examine immigrant-origin students rationales for using their time in the ways they do. We have used our conceptual model as a framework; given our available data, however, we were not able to test every factor presented in the conceptual model. Nonetheless, we aim to shed light on a number of elements and put in place a foundation that may generate ideas for future studies on immigrant-origin students enrolled in community colleges.
Using an embedded sequential explanatory design (Clark & Creswell, 2008), we quantify the use of time on campus across groups by drawing on survey data. We then draw on semistructured interviews of an embedded subsample of those survey participants in order to provide insights into students perspectives on their use of time on campus. Our rationale for using a mixed-methods strategy is that the analysis of the quantitative data provides a general understanding of the research problem, and the subsequent qualitative analysis serves to illuminate the statistical results by exploring participants views on the issue (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2013). This study specifically seeks to answer the following research questions:
RQ1. How much time do students report spending on campus doing what activities? RQ1a. What is the demographic variation in these patterns (according to immigrant generation, ethnicity/race, and gender)?
RQ2. What factors predict how much overall time immigrant-origin students spend on campus?
RQ3. What is the effect of academically productive time spent on campus on GPA for immigrant-origin students?
RQ4. What do immigrant-origin community college students say about the time they spend on campus? What insights do they have as to what impedes or facilitates their spending (or not spending) time on campus?
We draw data from the Research on Immigrants in Community College (RICC) studya multiphase embedded mixed-methods study (Creswell, Plano Clark, Gutmann, & Hanson, 2008) of three urban community college settings varying in contexts. The intention of this study was to systematically examine classrooms and settings outside the classroom that have implications for (1) fostering relational engagement, (2) accessing relevant information/social capital, and (3) fostering academic engagement among immigrant-origin young adults (1825 years of age) attending community colleges. Data collection took place in three phases: Phase 1campus ethnographies, 60 structured classroom observations, nine focus groups; Phase 2644 student surveys matched to student records; and Phase 360 semistructured interviews with students (drawn from 10% of surveyed students) and 45 interviews with instructors and administrators (Alicea et al., 2016; Suárez-Orozco, Casanova, et al., 2015).
The data we draw on for this article were collected in Phases 2 (surveys) and 3 (semistructured interviews). We primarily focus on the survey data to answer the quantitative research questions, but we also use available interview questions that shed light on the issue of interest. The data take a complementary mixed-methods approach (Hammersley, 1996), with each analytic approach providing a new level of insight (Bryman, 1996). Because it draws from the same data set, it is an embedded sequential explanatory design (Creswell et al., 2008).
Students at three northeastern U.S. (suburban and urban) community colleges participated in the online RICC survey. The survey was made available in English, Spanish, and Chinese (Mandarin). Students were qualified to participate if they met the following criteria: (a) they were between the ages of 18 and 25, (b) they attended one of the participating campuses, and c) they were enrolled in a degree program.
Here, our focus was on first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students, with first-generation students defined as those who were born outside the United States, and second-generation students defined as those who were born within the United States but who have at least one parent who was born outside the United States. Students with two U.S.-born parents (third-generation immigrants or higher) were included for the purpose of comparison. We included the full sample of 644 students in the descriptive analyses in RQ1 (33% were first generation, 43% were second generation, and 24% were third generation and beyond), but we excluded members of the third generation and beyond from the sample used for the regression analyses in RQ2 and RQ3, which focused only on first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students. The sample used in the qualitative analysis also consisted entirely of first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students (see the following for further details).
The full sample of 644 participants consisted of 54.6% (n = 350) women and 45.4% (n = 292) men. The mean student age at the time of taking the survey was 20.3 years (SD = 1.9 years). The racial composition of the entire sample was 39.3% Latina/o, 26.9% Black, 12.7% White, 12.1% mixed or members of other racial groups, and 9.1% Asian. Of first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students (n = 486), 54.1% were women, and 45.9% were men; 43.6% identified as Latina/o, 26.0% as Black, 11.9% as other or multiple ethnicities, 11.2% as Asian, and 7.4% as White. The mean age at the time of taking the survey was 20.2 years (SD = 1.9 years). Of those who were members of the first generation (32.9%; n = 213), more than half (58.2%) had arrived in the United States at age 12 or younger (M age of arrival = 11.0 years, SD = 6.0; see Table 1).
Three community colleges in the Northeast (suburban and urban) of the United States were selected to participate in the RICC study. All participating community colleges offered two-year associates degree programs and served low-income, ethnic minority, and immigrant-origin commuter populations; on average, at least 40% of the student populations attending these colleges were foreign born.
Located in one of the poorest congressional districts in the nation, Taino is the first two-year public open-admissions bilingual college in the state, having been created to serve the needs of a local Latina/o community. It predominantly serves Latina/o (64%) and Black (31%) students. In 2012, only 2% of the students were White, and 3% were Asian/Pacific Islander. More than 90% of the student body reported speaking a language other than English at home.
Located in the burgeoning downtown section of a large urban center, Domino began as a trade school in a former industrial neighborhood and now focuses heavily on technological education. At the time of our survey, the students racial/ethnic backgrounds were highly diverse, and the majority of students reported being non-White: 32.5% Black (non-Latina/o), 33.2% Latina/o, 19.2% Asian/Pacific Islander, 0.5% Native American, and 3.4% Other. Only 11.2% reported being White (non-Latina/o). Forty percent of the students were born outside the United States, representing 134 countries, and 62% reported speaking a language other than English at home.
Although a commuter campus, Oakmont physically resembles a traditional four-year university campus. It is located in an affluent suburban county roughly 90 minutes from a major city center and is known for long-standing class-based (i.e., socioeconomic) segregation. Reflecting the United States rapidly shifting demographics, the makeup of the colleges population has changed; just under half of its students now represent a majority population (49% White). Oakmont currently has the highest percentage of minority students in the state system, with the largest increases occurring in the low-income Latina/o (28%) and Black (21%) student populations. Foreign-born students represent a particularly large segment of this demographic, currently representing 42% of the students attending the campus.
Institutional review board approval was obtained from the three participating colleges and from the affiliated research university. In a first wave of recruitment, students were recruited after class in a designated setting overseen by graduate research assistants using Qualtrics, an online survey-hosting site. Students who opted to take the survey off-site were given a unique link to the survey via email. In a second wave of recruitment, flyers with contact information were distributed on-site and on campus email lists. Students who contacted the researchers directly were sent unique links to the survey. In the last wave of recruitment, diverse research assistants passed out flyers on campus, and surveys were administered in a procedure similar to the one employed in the first approach. Participants received $25 cash or an Amazon gift certificate after completing the survey. In all, 644 students completed the survey. All student survey data were linked to student administrative records (e.g., GPA). Once the student records had been linked, the identifying data were destroyed to protect student confidentiality. The potential sample pool was then stratified to represent each of the participating colleges, race/ethnicity groups, gender divisions, and immigrant generations.
As a follow-up to the survey, semistructured interviews were conducted during the final phase. These interviews were administered either in empty rooms on the three college campuses or at another university, depending on the students availability and location preferences. In all, 57% of the survey sample respondents indicated they were willing to participate and were placed into an interview pool. The RICC study used a 10% stratified random sampling strategy to select the interview sample (n = 58) of first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students from the survey sample (Lieber, 2009). All interviews took between 1.5 and 2.5 hours to administer and were audiotaped and then transcribed verbatim. The interviews were conducted in either English or Spanish, depending on participant preference, by trained bilingual interviewers. Participants received $40 in cash or an Amazon gift certificate for completing the interview.
For this study, both quantitative and qualitative methods of data analysis were employed to investigate the amount of time participants spent on campus and how this time was used. Our focus was on the amount of time participants spent on campus when not in class, as well as on how and why they spent time on campus outside of class. Data presented in this article were drawn from the survey and the student interviews. The survey included a number of measures, such as demographic indicators and indicators of the use of time on campus.
Demographics. Participants reported their age, gender, racial identification, and immigration generation status along with other demographic details. Immigration status was determined by the parents place of birth, the students place of birth, and, for the foreign born, the students age on arrival in the United States.
Campus. The campus attended by each survey respondent (Domino, Taino, or Oakmont) was recorded. This information was coded as a categorical variable for the analyses of variance (ANOVAs). For the regression analyses, three binary variables were created to indicate attendance at a specific college, and two of these were included in the regressions to avoid the dummy variable trap (Wooldridge, 2006).
Time use. Students reported use of time on campus was assessed using nine fill-in-the-blank items. In reference to the previous week, these questions gathered information on the total time that participants had spent in classes and on campus when not in class, including time spent participating in distinct academic and social activities (e.g., hanging out alone, participating in a club or other organized activity, or taking care of student- or campus-related business [e.g., financial aid, registrar]).
The specific uses of student time were grouped into three broader categories: (1) nonacademically productive time, (2) social time, and (3) academically productive time. Nonacademically productive time is the sum of Hanging out alone and Taking care of business, social time is the sum of Hanging out with friends and Participating in a club or sport, and academically productive time is time spent Studying on campus (e.g., studying in the library or going to the college tutoring or learning center). In addition, students could report the number of hours they spent engaged in Other activities and describe how that time had been spent. These responses and the reported hours were then broken into the three broad categories described earlier. For example, hours spent Doing homework were added to the category academically productive time.
Based on the distribution of the students responses to these items, and considering that some responses were unrealistically high (e.g., reporting that 80 hours per week had been spent taking care of business), time in class was capped at 30 hours per week, and time spent participating in specific categories of activities (e.g., social time) was capped at 20 hours per week. Capping was carried out after students had completed the survey to reduce the deviance of any outliers (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2013) and affected less than 3% of the sample. The three subcategories were summed to calculate the total time spent on campus outside of class.
Services used. Participants self-reported whether they had used any of the following services during the past semester: the internship office, the tutoring center, the academic advising office, the registrars office, the transfer office, the financial aid office, the health center, the security center, the counseling center, and site-specific centers. The responses were then summed to create a continuous variable indicating the number of services each participant had used.
Hours spent commuting, working, and helping parents. Participants reported the number of hours spent commuting to and from the campus as well as the number of hours spent working and helping their parents. Because of some large outliers (e.g., 180 hours spent commuting), these variables were capped. Work time was capped at 40 hours per week, time spent helping parents was capped at 30 hours per week, and time spent commuting was capped at 20 hours per week, based on the distribution of the responses to each question (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2013).
Study skills. Participants reported study skills were measured using a seven-item composite subscale adapted from the Ansell-Casey Life Skills Assessment, which assesses educational study skills among late adolescents (Nollan et al., 2000). Items were rated on a 5-point Likert-style scale, ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Sample items included, If I had a test, I practiced problems and checked my answers, and I took notes in my classes and used those notes to study. Raw scores were obtained, and then the mean was calculated. Higher scores indicated higher levels of study skills. The internal reliability of an Internet-administered version of the Ansell-Casey study skills subscale demonstrated a fair internal consistency (α =.780) (Bressani & Downs, 2002). In the current study, this measure evidenced a similar internal reliability (α = .751).
Instructor relationships. Participants’ perception of positive and supportive instructor relationships was measured using a nine-item composite scale adapted from a previous measure used with immigrant-origin adolescents (Suarez-Orozco, Pimentel, & Martin, 2009) and used in a national survey of undocumented immigrant college students (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015). Items were rated on a 5-point Likert-style scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Sample items included, There are instructors and staff who work at school who . . . I can approach if I have a personal problem and There are instructors and staff who work at school who . . . push me to do my best in school. Higher scores indicated higher levels of positive relationships with instructors. The internal reliability of the scale established with a national survey of undocumented immigrant college students was excellent (α = .92) (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015). Similarly, in the current study, this measure evidenced excellent internal reliability (α = .926).
Academic peer relationships. Participants’ perception of positive and supportive peer relationships was measured using a six-item composite scale (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015). Items were rated on a 5-point Likert-style scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Sample items included, There are other students at school who . . . I can trust to help me if I have a problem. Higher scores indicated higher levels of positive relationships with academic peers. In a previous study, the internal reliability of this scale was good (α = .83) (Suárez-Orozco, Katsiaficas, et al., 2015). The measure evidenced a higher internal reliability in the current sample in the excellent range (α = .929).
GPA. Academic performance was operationalized using students cumulative GPAs. These were provided by the community college district.
Student insights about out-of-class time. The qualitative analyses for this article were drawn from an open-ended question from the one-on-one embedded semistructured interviews that asked students to reflect on the time they spent on campus when not in class. The prompt was, Some people say that community college students do not spend much time on campus when they are not in classes. What do you think? This question began a conversation when students responded. Some spoke about what they had observed about other students; others spoke of their own experiences. Interviewers followed up with questions about what the students thought might contribute to the patterns they had observed, and we then coded their reflections.
To examine our first research question, descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation) were run on forced-choice survey items from the measures listed previously. To examine differences between genders regarding time spent on campus, we employed an independent samples t test. To determine any group differences by ethnicity, campus type, or immigrant generation, we conducted a one-way ANOVA.
To examine the impact that time spent on campus had on academic outcomes, we conducted a correlation analysis between cumulative GPA and the various categories of time spent on campus: total time spent outside of class, academically productive time, nonacademically productive time, and social time. The results of this analysis (reported in Table 2) led us to focus on the relationship between GPA and academically productive time. Table 3 reports pairwise correlations for all variables included in the regression models. Because the regression models focus on first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students (N = 486), this is the sample used in the correlation analysis as well.
To examine the multiple factors predicting the amount of time spent on campus outside of class, we conducted a three-step hierarchical multiple regression (Table 4). Doing this made it possible to see how much additional variation in the dependent variable was contributed by different groups of variables as they were added to the model consecutively. In the regression, Step 1 included age, gender, ethnicity, immigrant generation, and campus attended as control variables. At Step 2, peer and instructor relationships were entered, as was the students use of services. In the final step (Step 3), time spent in class, time spent working, time spent helping family, and time spent commuting were all entered into the model. We employed sequential regression, in which the order of variables entered is determined by the researcher according to logical or theoretical considerations (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2013). The described steps start with basic demographic variables and the campus attended, then build to include the students on-campus relationships and use of services. Finally, competing uses of time were added in the final step. Three steps were tested in the analysis, with all steps resulting in an increase in R2.
To examine multiple factors predicting cumulative GPA, we conducted a two-step hierarchical multiple regression (see Table 5). Step 1 included age, gender, ethnicity, immigrant generation, campus attended, and study skills, as well as time spent working, helping parents, or commuting as control variables. At Step 2, academically productive time spent on campus was entered into the model. Doing so allowed us to examine the additional variation in GPA resulting from the inclusion of academically productive time on campus beyond the variation driven by the control variables. Two steps were tested in the analysis, with both steps resulting in an increase in R2.
There was a minimal amount of missing data. For example, the responses to questions regarding time spent on campus had less than 4% of responses missing. The one exception was cumulative GPA (14.7% missing responses), the dependent variable in the regressions in RQ3. GPA was not self-reported by students; it had been collected from college administrative data and linked with the survey responses using unique identifiers. Data that were missing because of problems linking student records and similar occurrences can be considered to be missing completely at random because they were unrelated to any of the students observed or unobserved characteristics, including GPA itself. This condition was confirmed by Littles MCAR test (chi-square = 65.247, df = 51, sig = 0.087). Therefore, listwise deletion was an appropriate technique for dealing with missing data in the regression analyses.
To address the qualitative questions, we employed an inductive thematic analysis based on student responses to one question from the interview (n = 58): Some people say that community college students do not spend much time on campus when they are not in classes. What do you think? A thematic analysis involves searching for themes and recognizing patterns of meaning within the data that provide a rich and detailed, yet complex, account (Braun & Clarke, 2006). Emerging themes were then used as categories for analysis (Joffe, 2011).
Using inductive and deductive coding, six authors read five random interviewee responses to the question. The authors who coded and analyzed the interviews were all bilingual and could code the responses in the language in which they had been made. Nine categories were identified: Campus Resources, Informal Socializing on Campus, Informal Socializing off Campus, Work, Campus Involvement, Competing Responsibilities, No Intrinsic Benefit, Campus Facilities, and Other (see Table 6 for code definitions and frequencies). The unit of analysis was the coded text. To thickly describe students responses to the aforementioned question (Ryle, 1971, 2009), codes were not mutually exclusive. This technique was appropriate because participants could express one or more reasons for the time they spent on or off campus.
Table 6. Reasons Why Students Do or Dont Spend Time on Campus
Two authors individually coded a random subsample of 12 responses (20% of the sample) and calculated intercoder reliability using Cohen’s kappa and the following criteria: κ = 0.61–0.80 (substantial agreement) and κ = 0.81–0.99 (almost perfect agreement) (Viera & Garret, 2005). All responses from the subsample were coded using a binary coding scheme: 0 = not present and 1 = present. After coding the subsample, the authors discussed and revised the definitions created for the coding categories. Kappas ranged from 1 to 0.77, averaging 89% and achieving nearly perfect agreement. Once kappa had been achieved, authors coded all student responses using MAXQDA software.
Descriptive analyses showed that students had on average spent 9.2 hours on campus outside of class during the previous week. Fewer than one-sixth (16%) of students reported having spent no time on campus outside of class in the previous week, while a third had spent more than 10 hours on campus outside of class.
When examining time spent on campus outside of class by immigrant generation, we found that first-generation immigrant students had reported spending roughly 10.7 hours outside of class during the previous week. Second-generation immigrant students had spent 8.5 hours outside of class on average, while the third-plus immigrant generation on average had spent 8.7 hours. Furthermore, we broke down by ethnicity the time spent on campus outside of class. Our findings indicated that, on average, the breakdown for time spent on campus outside of class during the previous week was 9.3 hours for Latina/o students ; 9.9 hours for Black students ; 7.8 hours for White students ; 11.1 hours for Asian students; and 8.0 hours for students of mixed or other ethnicities. In terms of gender breakdown, we found that on average, males had spent 9.8 hours outside of class, while females had spent 8.8 hours. Students at Taino had spent the highest number of average hours on campus outside of class (10.0 hours), followed by Oakmont students (9.6 hours) and Domino students (8.4 hours). For more descriptives and a breakdown of academically productive time (time spent studying), nonacademically productive time (e.g., sorting out matters at the financial aid office), and social time (e.g., hanging out with friends) spent on campus, as well as the number of services used, see Table 2.
Independent sample t tests were conducted to compare gender differences in time spent on campus. Results showed that social time spent on campus differed by gender, with females (M = 3.44, SD = 4.93) spending less time socializing than their male peers (M = 4.68, SD = 5.60); t(627) = 2.96, p < .01. No further gender differences were found.
When we looked at group differences by immigrant generation in terms of time spent outside of class, there was a statistically significant difference among first-generation immigrants (M = 10.7, SD = 8.0) when compared with second-generation (M = 8.5, SD = 7.6) and third-generation immigrants (M = 8.7, SD = 7.4); F(2,625) = 5.301, p < .01. Similarly, a statistically significant difference was found in academically productive time spent on campus, with first-generation immigrants spending more time on campus (M = 5.2, SD = 8.8) than second-generation (M = 3.4, SD = 7.2) and third-generation (M = 3.4, SD = 5.7) immigrant students; F(2,623) = 6.14, p < .01. First-generation students also spent more time in class (M = 14.0, SD = 6.9) than second-generation (M = 11.4, SD = 6.3) and third-generation (M = 12.1, SD = 6.5) students; F (2,623) = 9.68, p < .01.
In terms of differences by ethnicity, we found a statistically significant difference overall in terms of nonacademically productive time: F(4,623) = 2.70, p < .05. However, post hoc tests revealed no significant differences between pairs of ethnic groups. We also examined differences in the number of services used by ethnicity and found that Latina/o students used more services on average (M = 3.6, SD = 2.5) than White students (M = 2.5, SD = 2.4); F(2,484) = 4.35, p < .05.
Further, when we looked for any group differences based on campus, we found that there was a statistically significant difference by campus in terms of nonacademically productive time spent outside of class, with Taino students spending more time on campus (M = 4.8, SD = 6.1) than Domino (M = 3.0, SD = 4.5) and Oakmont students (M = 2.9, SD = 4.4); F(2,408) = 7.12, p < .01. Taino students on average also used the largest number of services (M = 3.9, SD = 2.7) when compared with use by students at Domino (M = 3.2, SD = 2.3) and Oakmont (M = 3.0, SD = 2.3); F(2,639) = 6.78, p < .01.
PREDICTING HOW MUCH TIME STUDENTS SPEND ON COMMUNITY COLLEGE CAMPUSES
Multivariate results regarding the factors that predict the amount of time that community college students spend on campus are shown in Table 4. In Steps 1 and 2, immigrant generation was predictive of time spent on campus; first-generation immigrant-origin community college students spent more overall time on campus than second-generation immigrant-origin students did. Furthermore, in Steps 13, attendance at one of the campuses, Domino, was negatively predictive of time spent on campus. Peer and instructor relationships were introduced in Step 2. Although instructor relationships were insignificant, peer relationships positively predicted time spent on campus outside of class in Steps 2 and 3. The number of services used during the past semester was also introduced in Step 2, but it did not have a statistically significant impact at the 5% significance level. In the final step, time spent helping parents or families and time spent commuting to campus were added to the model and were found to positively predict the time spent on campus beyond the effects of the control variables. We found that students who reported having more family responsibilities at home spent more time on campus than students with fewer home responsibilities. We also found that students with longer commutes to campus spent more time on campus than those with shorter commutes. Time spent working and time in class were also added in this step, but these factors did not have a statistically significant impact. The final model explained 13% of the variance of time spent on campus: Δ R2 = .05, F change (4,424) = 5.54, p < .01. In the final model, peer relationships and time spent helping parents and commute time were statistically significant and positive, whereas attending the Domino campus had a negative, statistically significant effect on time spent on campus outside of class.
PREDICTING THE EFFECTS OF ACADEMICALLY PRODUCTIVE TIME ON CAMPUS ON GPA
Correlations among all variables used in the quantitative analyses can be found in Table 3. This table includes the correlation between cumulative GPA and the different categories of time. Academically productive time has a correlation of 0.18 with GPA, and this correlation is statistically significant at the 1% level. Total time spent outside of class, social time, and nonacademically productive time are not significantly correlated with GPA. For this reason, we focus on academically productive time in the analysis of the impact of time spent on campus on GPA.
Multivariate results regarding the factors that predict GPA are shown in Table 5. At Step 1, age was a significant predictor of cumulative GPA, with older students having higher GPAs on average. Immigrant generation was also statistically significant, with first-generation immigrant-origin community college students having higher GPAs than second-generation immigrant-origin students. Study skills also positively predicted a students GPA. Certain ethnicities were found to negatively predict GPA, with Latinas/Latinos, Blacks, and students with mixed or other ethnicities having a lower cumulative GPA than White students. Students at Domino were also found to have lower GPAs overall than students at Oakmont. Time spent working, commuting time, and time spent helping parents were also included as control variables, but they did not have statistically significant effects on GPA. In Step 2, the amount of time spent engaged in academically productive activities on campus was added to the model, and it positively predicted GPA. Including academically productive time increased the explained variation in the dependent variable by 2%, Δ R2 = .02, F change (1,361) = 8.20, p < .01. The final model explained 15% of the variance in students’ cumulative GPA and suggests that students’ age, ethnicity, campus attended, and study skills and the amount of time that they spend engaging in academically productive activities on campus all contribute to students GPA.
The responses to the qualitative question provided insights into the fluid and multifaceted nature of immigrant-origin students experiences with their use of time on campus. Interviewees responses to the prompt, Some people say that community college students do not spend much time on campus when they are not in classes. What do you think? stimulated them to reflect on how they and their peers spend time on campus outside of class.
Of the 56 students who responded, 41.07% (n = 23 students) explained that it depended on the student, 39.28% (n = 22 students) agreed, 17.86% (n = 10 students) disagreed, and one student (1.79%) did not know. Regardless of their responses to this statement, all respondents reported spending various amounts of such time on campus (ranging from 6.5 hours to 45 hours).
Some of the participants reflected that out-of-class time spent on campus depended on the student. Natasha, a second-generation immigrant-origin Black female student, for example, stated,
I think [it] depends on the student. . . . [S]ome students, they leave because they have to go to work[,] or they go home [be]cause theyre tired or they want to study. Sometimes they just dont want to engage in school, but a lot of students do. It depends[,]. . . so its not true that college students in community colleges dont spend time [on campus].
Echoing this sentiment, Pedro, a first-generation immigrant-origin Latino student born in Peru, explained, It depends on the work load. . . .[I]f the students have a lot of work to do, then they stay [at] the library and do their work. Similarly, Monica, a first-generation immigrant-origin White female student born in Cyprus, remarked that because of gaps of time between their classes, students stay [on campus] three, four hours between . . . class[es]. Kimberly, a second-generation immigrant-origin Black female student, further explained that people who are in teams or in clubs . . . [are] on campus all day.
These responses illustrate the tension between push and pull factors that influence the amount of time immigrant-origin students spend on campus. The it depends responders recognized the external reasons for not staying on campus while acknowledging both positive and negative reasons for staying on campus. Students who agreed with the statement that community college students do not spend much out-of-class time on campus provided explanations similar to those offered by the it depends on the student group, with the emphasis on impediments; these students typically cited nonacademic obligations. In keeping with our quantitative findings, the participants who disagreed with the statement said that they and their peers spend considerable amounts of time on campus.
To unpack both our immigrant-origin community college student participants experiences and the explanations for patterns of spending time on campus, we analyzed our data and found several emerging themes: Competing Responsibilities, Campus Resources, Campus Involvement, Work, Informal Socializing on Campus, Campus Facilities, Informal Socializing Off Campus, and No Intrinsic Benefit, a category that we describe next.
Students explained that time spent on campus was largely determined by their nonacademic obligations. For instance, Marco, a second-generation immigrant-origin Latino student, remarked, Most of these students are doing multiple things at once. I dont think a lot of them are just going to school. . . . I think a lot of them are very involved in other things. They have side jobs, gigs. Theyre mothers, fathers.
Adult life demands and competing responsibilities, as described by Marco, were a theme that emerged when interviewees told why they and their peers did not spend time on campus. We also found that 11.70% of the coded text units were about competing responsibilities outside of school, with most of the comments centered on work and family. For instance, Josefina, a first-generation immigrant-origin Latina student born in the Dominican Republic, commented, Maybe they work, have to work. They have children. They have to take care of somebody. Interviewees such as Josefina described themselves and their peers as having more than one responsibility outside of school. Although interviewees acknowledged that students did spend time on campus, how much time they allocated to being there on a given day depended on external factors. For example, Maria, a second-generation immigrant-origin Latina student, discussed the factors that informed her personal experience: It is like either I have to go to work, or I will stay in the library for a couple of hours. It is either that or go to work. Or I just want to chilllike I dont want to be there. Marias response encapsulates the multifaceted and ambivalent nature of spending time on campus; this response suggests that both work demands and a desire to unwind kept her away from campus, whereas the campus library kept her on campus.
Additionally, participants noted their responsibilities outside of school to differentiate between students enrolled in private colleges and community college students with multiple outside responsibilities. For instance, Josie, a first-generation immigrant-origin Asian female student who was born in China, explained,
People will go to community college [because] they [have] a family; [they are] mom[s] or dad[s]. They have career[s] of their own[, so] . . . they wont spend as much time on campus. They are taking care of their kids[,] . . . whereas [in] private colleges . . . they are my age [21,] . . . they are single[,] and all they need to care about is school. They will spend time [on campus] . . . because they have the time. They dont have to take care of family.
Josies response emphasizes the distinctions between those who only need to care about school and those who need to focus on school, family, and career. Josie also described community colleges as being a more viable and accessible option for students with multiple demands and commitments outside of school. These findings serve to provide additional insights into what students think contributes to out-of-class time. Although students discussed the tug of family obligations to return home, they also emphasized the importance of campus resources and facilities such as the library.
These findings reveal that time spent on campus, as described by many of the participants, is fluid, and they illustrate the tension between push and pull factors that influence the amount of time students spend on campus. At the same time, they show that students recognized the many external reasons for their not staying on campus. These findings also noted that when time and campus spaces were used productively, students recognized the integral role these factors played in their academic success. Whereas some students used their time fruitfully, others were less efficient in their time management.
Nearly 30% of the coded responses included references to using campus spaces to study. Jessica, a second-generation immigrant-origin Latina female, for example, described her daily routines and study habits: I [would] spend half my day here. . . . I would go to the cafeteria and eat my lunch. If I had homework, I would do the homework there. Or I would do homework here and then go to class and then come back here.
Jessicas description of her busy schedule demonstrates her reliance on various campus facilities to accomplish academic tasks. Similarly, Davion, a first-generation immigrant-origin Black male student born in Haiti, recalled, When [students] are not in classes[,] sometimes the library is packed, the cafeteria is packed, [and there are] tons of people in the yard. Other students explained that students also stay on campus to receive academic support. For instance, Juan, a second-generation immigrant-origin Latino student, said that students go out of their way to spend time at the tutoring center: [E]ven when they dont have time, they come here to get tutoring [and] get help. Overall, students posited that both indoor and outdoor campus spaces such as the cafeteria, library, and tutoring center were integral to academic engagement and success.
Most students described using campus resources to study. Benny explained, In the library, there are always people up until . . . the library closes at 9, students are leaving [at] 8:45 pm[,] . . . and there are a lot of students who[m] security ha[s] to [escort] out[;] there [is] a lot of studying. A whole lot.
Some students said that campus spaces afforded them much needed quiet time, something that they might not have been able to obtain at home. Brandon, a first-generation immigrant-origin Asian male student born in Bangladesh, for example, noted,
I cannot study outside of campus because I have six people in my home. . . . I cant study [there], so I [start] class [at] 10 in the morning [and go to] 8 in the evening, [and] in between . . . class[es] . . . I study at the library . . . all of the time.
The majority of students, 81% (n = 47 students), reported spending substantial amounts of time studying on campus alone (ranging from 1 to 12 hours) and studying with others (ranging from 1 to 10 hours). The majority of the interviewees reported using campus facilities and resources to study. As such, the campuses were an integral component of students studying patterns and engagement on campus. Brandon explained this phenomenon firmly: All the people that you see right now [on campus] . . . are not in class [because] they are studying.
Involvement, Work, and Informal Socializing on Campus
Interviewees maintained that when students were on campus, they used resources, worked, and were involved. To these students, campus resources such as the library, tutoring center, and computer lab were more than mere spaces to study; they also anchored students to the campus. Rocio, a first-generation immigrant-origin Latina female student born in Mexico, explained, I[n] my free time . . . or [if] I have a break, thats when I stay here [and go to] the library. Another student, Maribel, a second-generation immigrant-origin Latina, said, The tutoring center helps us stay on campus. Students also indicated they were going to the library and computer lab to use computers and hang out. Others told how working on campus had led them to spend more time there and helped them become aware of social activities and events. For instance, Natasha shared, I usually didnt spend time on campus, but when I started working here, I was spending a lot more time[,] . . . [and] I learned things that I didnt know by being here. Students also explained that some campus spaces were conducive to formal participation in campus clubs and organizations. For instance, Michael, a first-generation immigrant-origin Black male student born in Cape Verde, remarked, Clubs get people to interact with the school, get to know one another. Kids who do clubs are most likely to interact. In addition, students described how peers had encouraged them to become involved on campus and to integrate with social and intellectual communities to receive academic support. Daniel, a second-generation immigrant-origin Latino student, explained,
So . . . my friend, he never really stays here. I got him to stay here half of the semester, after school, and thats when his work got better[,] and he became better friends with everyone[,] and things got better for himhe got an A in [a] class. So . . . when he was hanging out[,] his attitude improved and he improved.
As illustrated by Daniels comments, peer interactions in academic areas outside of class provide students with opportunities to further engage on campus and receive academic and social support.
Campus Facilities, Informal Socializing Off Campus, and No Intrinsic Benefit
A few other themes emerged infrequently. A small percentage of the coded text (4.26%) described students dissatisfaction with campus facilities because of safety concerns and subpar facilities and resources. In these responses, facilities were portrayed as too crowded to study in, lacking in school spirit, or physically unappealing. A small percentage of coded text (5.23%) also captured students preference for socializing off campus by hanging out with peers in places such as a local mall and park instead of on campus. An even a smaller percentage of the coded text (3.19%) reflected some students feelings that time spent on campus outside of class had no intrinsic benefit, calling it a waste of time because it did not provide academic or financial gains (e.g., responding that it did not help my grades or put money in my pocket).
In the higher education literature, student engagement as measured by time spent on campus (e.g., studying on campus and using services on campus) has been related to the academic success (Astin, 2001; Harper & Quaye, 2015; Kuh et al., 2006; Saenz et al., 2011; Tinto, 1993; Wolf-Wendel et al., 2009) of traditional college students. Thus, this study sought to consider the role of time spent on campus for immigrant-origin students attending community collegesa growing nontraditional demographic in these settings (Bailey & Morest, 2006; Teranishi et al., 2011).
First, we examined whether immigrant-origin community college students spent considerable time on campus outside of class and contemplated the distinctions among academically productive, nonacademically productive, and social out-of-class time. Subsequently, we examined group differences. Then, we considered what predicted the length of time students spent on campus outside of class. We also considered whether academically productive time used outside of classstudying on campuscontributed to students GPA. Finally, our qualitative findings served to provide additional insights into what students thought contributed to their use of out-of-class time.
One notable finding was that immigrant-origin community college students spent substantial amounts of quality time on campus. Our finding contrasts with the common belief expressed by the community college administrator in this articles opening statement and in prior research: Community college students spend a minimal amount of time on campus because of work and family responsibilities (Astin, 1999). We found that despite immigrant-origin students external commitments, the average amount of time that they spent on campus outside of class was 9.2 hours a weeka considerable amount of time.
We analyzed the influence of out-of-class time spent on campus on GPA and found that social time and nonacademically productive time did not contribute to GPA but that using out-of-class time in academically productive ways (like studying at the library) did. This particular finding was underscored by the qualitative findings: Many students described how they relied on the various campus facilities (such as the library or tutoring services) to complete their academic tasks. These findings align with previous research on students at four-year colleges, which has found that it is not just the time that students spend on campus that matters for academic success; the quality of the ways in which that time is spent is also important (Brint & Cantwell, 2010).
Our analysis revealed that immigrant-origin students who spent more time helping their parents also spent longer periods of time on campus than other students did. This finding is contrary to those of previous research, which have suggested that family demands might make it difficult for students to remain on campus and engage with the school community (Tseng, 2004; Vasquez-Salgado et al., 2014). Perhaps high levels of external family commitments may be related to students seeking quiet spaces on campus where they can complete their readings and assignments. Although family responsibilities may make it more challenging for students to spend discretionary time on campus, immigrant-origin students are likely to need to use their campus time efficiently and to seek out spaces that are conducive for studying.
Similar to the findings of previous research that peer relationships may contribute to engagement (Astin, 1984; Chaves, 2006; Rendon et al., 2000; Saenz et al., 2011), our findings indicate the importance of peer relationships to students spending more time on campus outside of class in community college settings. One possible explanation may be that students who develop peer relationships on campus may be encouraged by their peers to stay on campus (Astin, 1984; Chaves, 2006; Rendon et al., 2000; Saenz et al., 2011). Second, our findings also demonstrate that immigrant-origin students with long commutes are more likely to spend time on campus and use services offered there. Perhaps college administrators should consider targeting services for commuter students, or students who stay on campus because of gaps in their class schedules, by providing specialized workshops or quiet spaces (apart from the library) where students can study.
We tested for demographic differences concerning time. We found statistically significant differences across immigrant generations. Despite the external commitments of work and family responsibilities that first- and second-generation immigrant-origin students might experience (Tseng, 2004; Vasquez-Salgado et al., 2014), our findings document that first-generation immigrant-origin students spent more academically productive time (studying) on campus than later generations did. Furthermore, when examining gender difference, we found that males spent more time socializing on campus (e.g., hanging out with friends, being involved in clubs and sports) than did their female peers. One possible explanation for the differences is that some first- and second-generation female students may sometimes describe having greater responsibility to family and external responsibilities as compared with their male counterparts (Crouter et al., 2001; Telzer & Fuligni, 2009). Regarding total out-of-class time, our findings demonstrate that Latina/o students, particularly those at Taino, used more services than their White peers did. This result may be in part due to the community colleges we studied making particular efforts to strategically engage their Latina/o students. Students choosing to spend their out-of-class time on campus in academically productive ways and by making use of campus services thus might be a reflection of both student needs and responsive campus programming.
To underscore this point, we found statistically significant differences among participant responses from the three community college campuses. Taino students spent the most time on campus outside of class and used the greatest number of services on average, whereas students at Domino spent the least amount of time on campus. Notably, Taino has historically been a Hispanic-serving institution that expends considerable effort to provide culturally relevant programming for its students (Alcantar & Hernandez, 2018), whereas Domino pays little attention to this dimension of service provision. Previous empirical research has demonstrated the significance of the role of institutions in the ways in which they facilitate spaces for students to engage and thrive on their respective college campuses (Astin, 1993; Baker & Velez, 1996; Bowen & Bok, 2000; Hossler, Braxton, & Coopersmith, 1989; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Perez & McDonough, 2008; Tinto, 1993). Research has shown that not all learning environments are the samefrom the amount of allocated resources, to organization of learning opportunities, to services provided for students to engage in those activities that will benefit them, to name a few (Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, & Whitt, 2010). Our findings contribute to the literature not only by focusing on community college students but also by specifically focusing on immigrant-origin students as they describe the available opportunities and the limitations of their respective campus out-of-class settings.
The findings from our interview data provide a number of nuanced insights into the ways in which immigrant-origin community college students use their out-of-class campus time, the ways in which they perceive their peers as doing so, and the impediments to spending time on campus, and they underscore that many of these students use the time much more than our initial administrators remarks indicated. Our participants shed light on how immigrant-origin students spend time on campus in a variety of spaces, including the cafeteria, library, tutoring centers, and outdoor spaces. When their time had been used productively, students recognized the integral role that quality time played in their academic success. Furthermore, the interviews reveal that both peer relationships and the availability of campus resources encourage students to spend out-of-class time on campus. For instance, similar to the findings of previous research (Astin, 1984; Chaves, 2006; Rendon et al., 2000; Saenz et al., 2011), our study found that students felt encouraged by peers to become involved in the social and intellectual communities at their respective colleges.
Our findings also suggest that campus resources such as appealing library spaces and a warm, helpful tutoring center may encourage students to spend more time on campus. These results are consistent with research at four-year colleges that has documented the important role that resources and campus opportunities play in fostering student engagement on campus (Astin, 1993; Baker & Velez, 1996; Bowen & Bok, 2000; Hossler et al., 1989; Kuh et al., 2010; Pascarella & Terenzini, 1991; Perez & McDonough, 2008; Tinto, 1993). The need to provide services and resources that contribute to students engagement on campus has been a well-established principle in higher education and at four-year colleges but has been less considered at community colleges. Providing spaces that foster engagement for out of class-time should be a recognized threshold of service offered to all students, all the more necessary for our rapidly diversifying nontraditional students at community colleges (Deil-Amen, 2015).
STRENGTHS, LIMITATIONS, AND FUTURE DIRECTIONS FOR RESEARCH
A strength of our study is that we started with a conceptual framework. A limitation is that we did not have data for all elements of that framework. We have attempted to illuminate a number of these elements to put in place a foundation that may generate ideas for future studies on immigrant-origin students enrolled in community colleges. Future studies should extend this research by examining untested elements of the conceptual model (e.g., some of the untested demographic variables and the persistence outcome). Future research might also examine the applicability of the theory to other populations across other settings.
An important conceptual contribution of our work is the finding that the quality of the time spent on campus, rather than the amount of time, was considered. However, even though we quantitatively disentangled time spent hanging out with friends or attending club events from time taking care of business and time spent productively studying in the library or going to the tutoring center, this study had a number of limitations regarding students estimates of time they reported spending doing specific activities. For instance, a few of the responses provided were unrealistic (e.g., 90 hours per week spent hanging out socially with friends or 168 hours spent hanging out alone). To eliminate inflated numbers, we capped individual categories of activities at 20 hours per week. We also collected students schedules during the interview and asked them to take us through their time spent on campus. This approach seemed to be a more precise way of capturing students time use. However, the sample size (N = 58) from the interviews was insufficient for the quantitative analysis, so we opted for employing the questions about time used in the student survey. To obtain more accurate estimates, future studies should not ask students to estimate their time spent doing certain tasks but should instead ask them to fill out a schedule of a typical week on campus that accounts for all activities (e.g., where they go and how they spend time there). Additionally, although our findings begin to address other scholars calls for the need to move beyond knowing that students are busy and have many responsibilities (Rios-Aguilar & Kiyama, 2017, p. 5), future studies should investigate which family responsibilities enhance students engagement on campus.
Furthermore, because of an extensive interview addressing a number of topics, only one question prompt directly inquired about how time was spent on campus. A study specifically designed to learn about students use of on-campus time would delve into these issues (e.g., how immigrant-origin community college students perceive their time spent on campus) and would no doubt yield still greater insights. Additionally, considering that community college students typically take six to eight semesters to complete their degrees or to transfer to a four-year institution (Complete College America, 2011; Moore & Shulock, 2010), testing for persistence as it relates to time spent on campus was beyond the scope of this study but would be worth investigating. For instance, in keeping with both Astins (1993) and Hurtado and Carters (1997) theories, the social dimensions of spending time on campus that tap into belonging may serve a role in fostering persistence, if not in affecting grades. The qualitative data certainly point to this outcome, though we could not test this hypothesis quantitatively. Perhaps future studies should consider studying this relationship longitudinally.
As previous research has noted, more than half of all community college students are over the age of 24 (Deil-Amen, 2015; Saenz et al., 2011). However, students in our sample were between the ages of 18 and 25 because the focus of the larger study was on immigrant-origin young adults. One of our criteria for participation was that community college students should be between the ages of 18 and 25. Fewer than a quarter of the students in our sample were older than 24. This factor may have affected the external validity of the study concerning its implications for older immigrant-origin students. Therefore, future research should consider including older community college students in samples.
Furthermore, this study was conducted on three campuses in the Northeast. Additional studies should be undertaken in other parts of the country on more campuses to determine if similar patterns hold elsewhere. Last, although our quantitative analysis found significant differences across campuses, we could not confidently explain these findings because our campus variable only identified whether students were enrolled at one of the three schools. Similarly, our qualitative data did not yield further insights into whether specific campus characteristics may have engaged (or disengaged) immigrant-origin students at any of the three participating colleges. Future studies should consider exploring quantitative campus variables and qualitative interview questions or field observations that may help unpack this finding.
IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE
Although immigrant-origin emerging adults account for a third of the population (in the 1832 age group) (Rumbaut & Komaie, 2010) and are the largest new group being served at community colleges, the needs of this population have not been taken into account on the majority of campuses. This situation is concerning because our findings demonstrate that when their needs are addressed and when their use of on-campus time is productive, immigrant-origin community college students will earn better grades. Hence, community colleges should strive to provide spaces that anchor and engage immigrant-origin students with their campuses and to provide the kind of on-campus programming that will enhance students success. These services should include (1) extended library hours; (2) academic support services, tutoring, and writing skills training for English language (EL) students (Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education [CCCIE], 2015); (3) academic and career advising (CCCIE, 2015); (4) counseling and mental and health support services; and (5) help strengthening the transition from adult education (CCCIE, 2015). These services will enhance the experiences of immigrant-origin community college students in particular but would also be beneficial for other nontraditional students who are striving to use the community college system as a stepping-stone to a better life. In todays knowledge-intensive economy, more is at stake than ever before regarding the need to make the educational system work for as many who walk through community college doors as possible.
1. All names in this article are pseudonyms.
2. These students share the common denominator of a family experience of having foreign-born immigrant parents (Suárez-Orozco, Abo-Zena, & Marks, 2015). First-generation immigrants are a complex group that includes naturalized citizens, lawful permanent residents, certain legal nonimmigrants (e.g., persons in the United States on student or work visas), those admitted under refugee or asylum status, and persons residing without authorization in the United States. Note that we exclude international students who are intending to return to their countries of origin on completion of their studies. Many, but certainly not all, are the first generation in their families to attend college (Suárez-Orozco et al., 2011).
Alcantar, C. M., & Hernandez, E. (2018). Here the professors are your guide, tus guías: Latina/o student validating experiences with faculty at a Hispanic-Serving community college. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1177/1538192718766234
Alicea, S., Suárez-Orozco, C., Singh, S., Darbes, T., & Abrica, E. J. (2016). Observing classroom engagement in community college: A systematic approach. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(4), 757782.
American Association of Community Colleges. (2018). Fast facts 2018. Retrieved from https://www.aacc.nche.edu/research-trends/fast-facts/
Astin, A. W. (1984). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Personnel, 25(4), 297308.
Astin, A. W. (1993). An empirical typology of college students. Journal of College Student Development, 34, 3646.
Astin, A. W. (1999). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40(5), 518529.
Astin, A. W. (2001). What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Attisani, L., Jr. (1989). Getting in: Mexican Americans perceptions of university attendance and the implications for freshman year persistence. Journal of Higher Education, 60(3), 247277.
Bailey, T., & Morest, V. S. (2006). Defending the community college equity agenda. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Baker, T. L., & Velez, W. (1996). Access to and opportunity in postsecondary education in the United States: A review. Sociology of Education, 69, 82101.
Borglum, K., & Kubala, T. (2000). Academic and social integration of community college students: A case study. Community College Journal of Research and Practice, 24(7), 567576.
Bowen, W. G., & Bok, D. (2000). The shape of the river: Long-term consequences of considering race in college and university admissions. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77101.
Bressani, R. V., & Downs, A. C. (2002). Youth independent living assessment: testing the equivalence of web and paper/pencil versions of the AnsellCasey Life Skills Assessment. Computers in Human Behavior, 18(4), 453464.
Brint, S., & Cantwell, A. (2010). Undergraduate time use and academic outcomes: Results from the University of California undergraduate experiences survey 2006. Teachers College Record. 112(9), 24412470.
Bryman, A. (1996). Social science research. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Center for Community College Student Engagement. (2010). The heart of student success: Teaching, learning, and college completion.
Chaves, C. (2006). Involvement, development, and retention theoretical foundations and potential extensions for adult community college students. Community College Review, 34(2), 139152.
Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education. (2015). Expanding educational and career opportunities for immigrant students at community colleges. Westchester, NY: Author. Retrieved from http://cccie.org/publications/expanding-educational-and-career-opportunities-for-immigrant-students-at-community-colleges/
Clark, V. L. P., & Creswell, J. W. (2008). The mixed methods reader. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Complete College America. (2011). Time is the enemy. Washington, DC. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED536827.pdf
Creswell, J. W., & Plano Clark, V. L. (2013). Designing and conducting mixed methods research (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Creswell, J. W., Plano Clark, V. L., Gutmann, M. L., & Hanson, W. E. (2008). Advanced mixed methods designs. In V. L. Plano Clark & J. W. Creswell (Eds.), The mixed methods reader (pp. 161196). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Crouter, A. C., Head, M. R., Bumpus, M. F., & McHale, S. M. (2001). Household chores: Under what conditions do mothers lean on daughters? New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2001(94), 2342.
Cruce, T. M., Wolniak, G. C., Seifert, T. A., & Pascarella, E. T. (2006). Impacts of good practices on cognitive development, learning orientations, and graduate degree plans during the first year of college. Journal of College Student Development, 47(4), 365383.
Deil-Amen, R. (2015). The traditional college student: A smaller and smaller minority and its implications for access institutions. In M. Stevens & M. Kirst (Eds.), Remaking college: The changing ecology of higher education (pp. 134165). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Elkins, S. A., Braxton, J. M., & James, G. W. (2000). Tintos separation stage and its influence on first-semester college student persistence. Research in Higher Education,41(2), 251268.
Fuligni, A. J., Tseng, V., & Lam, M. (1999). Attitudes toward family obligations among American adolescents with Asian, Latin American, and European backgrounds. Child Development, 70(4), 10301044.
Greene, T. G., Marti, N. C., & McClenney, K. (2008). The effort-outcome gap: Differences for African American and Hispanic community college students in student engagement and academic achievement. Journal of Higher Education, 79(5), 513539.
Hammersley, M. (1996). The relationship between qualitative and quantitative research: Paradigm loyalty versus methodological eclecticism. In J. T. E. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research methods for psychology and the social sciences (pp. 159174). Leicester, England: British Psychological Society.
Handel, S. J. (2007). Second chance, not second class: A blueprint for community-college transfer. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 39(5), 38–45.
Hardway, C., & Fuligni, A. J. (2006). Dimensions of family connectedness among adolescents with Mexican, Chinese, and European backgrounds. Developmental Psychology, 42(6), 1246–1258.
Harper, S. R., & Quaye, S. J. (2009). Beyond sameness, with engagement and outcomes for all. In S. R. Harper & S. J. Quaye (Eds.), Student engagement in higher education: Theoretical perspectives and practical approaches for diverse populations (pp. 116). New York, NY: Routledge.
Harper, S. R., & Quaye, S. J. (2015). Making engagement equitable for students in U.S. higher education. In S. R. Harper & S. J. Quaye (Eds.), Student engagement in higher education: Theoretical perspectives and practical approaches for diverse populations (2nd ed., pp. 114). New York, NY: Routledge.
Horn, L., & Berktold, J. (1998). Profile of undergraduates in U.S. postsecondary education institutions: 1995-1996. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement. (NCES 98-084)
Hossler, D., Braxton, J., & Coopersmith, G. (1989). Understanding student college choice. In J. Smart (Ed.), Higher education: Handbook of theory and research (Vol. 4, pp. 231288). New York, NY: Agathon Press.
Hurtado, S., & Carter, D. F. (1997). Effects of college transition and perceptions of the campus racial climate on Latino college students sense of belonging. Sociology of Education, 70(4), 324345.
Joffe, H. (2011). Thematic analysis. In D. Harper & A. R. Thompson (Eds.), Qualitative methods in mental health and psychotherapy: A guide for students and practitioners (pp. 209223). Chichester, England: Wiley.
Kraemer, B. A. (1997). The academic and social integration of Hispanic students into college. The Review of Higher Education, 20(2), 163179.
Kuh, G. D., Cruce, T. M., Shoup, R., Kinzie, J., & Gonyea, R. M. (2008). Unmasking the effects of student engagement on first-year college grades and persistence. The Journal of Higher Education, 79(5), 540563.
Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Cruce, T. M., Shoup, R., & Gonyea, R. M. (2006). Connecting the dots: Multi-faceted analyses of the relationships between student engagement results from the NSSE, and the institutional practices and conditions that foster student success. Bloomington: Center for Postsecondary Research, Indiana University.
Kuh, G. D., Kinzie, J., Schuh, J. H., & Whitt, E. J. (2010). Student success in college: Creating conditions that matter. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Lieber, E. (2009). Mixing qualitative and quantitative methods: Insights into design and analysis issues. Journal of Ethnographic and Qualitative Research, 3, 218227.
Ma, J., & Baum, S. (2016). Trends in community colleges: Enrollment, prices, student debt, and completion. New York, NY: The College Board.
Martinez, E., Acevedo-Gil, N., & Murillo Jr, E. G. (2017). Latinx and the community college: Promoting pathways to postsecondary degrees. Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, 11(2), 613.
McClenney, K. M., & Marti, C. N. (2006). Exploring relationships between student engagement and student outcomes in community colleges: Report on validation research (Working paper). Community College Survey of Student Engagement. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED529075.pdf
Moore, C., & Shulock, N. (2010). Divided we fail: Improving completion and closing racial gaps in Californias community colleges. Sacramento, CA: Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy.
Nollan, K. A., Wolf, M., Ansell, D., Burns, J., Barr, L., Copeland, W., & Paddock, G. (2000). Ready or not: Assessing youths preparedness for independent living. Child Welfare, 79(2), 159176.
Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (1991). How college affects students. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T. (2005). How college affects students: A third decade of research (Vol. 2). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Perez, P. A., & McDonough, P. M. (2008). Understanding Latina and Latino college choice: A social capital and chain migration analysis. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 7, 249265.
Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. (1996). Immigrant America: A portrait. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Rendon, L. I., Jalomo, R. E., & Nora, A. (2000). Theoretical consideration in the study of minority student retention in higher education. In J. M. Braxton (Ed.), Rethinking the departure puzzle: New theory and research on college student retention (pp. 127156). Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.
Rios-Aguilar, C., & Kiyama, J. M. (2017). Introduction: The needs for funds of knowledge approach in higher education contexts. In J. M. Kiyama & C. Rios-Aguilar (Eds.), Funds of knowledge in higher education: Honoring students cultural experiences and resources as strengths (pp. 36). New York, NY: Routledge.
Rose, M. (2012). Back to school: Why everyone deserves a second chance at education. New York, NY: New Press.
Rumbaut, R. G., & Komaie, G. (2010). Immigration and adult transitions. The Future of Children, 20, 3963.
Ryle, G. (1971). Collected papers: Collected essays, 1929-1968 (Vol. 2). London, England: Hutchinson.
Ryle, G. (2009). Collected essays 1929-1968: Collected papers (Vol. 2). New York, NY: Routledge.
Saenz, V. B., Hatch, D., Bukoski, B. E., Kim, S., Lee, K. H., & Valdez, P. (2011). Community college student engagement patterns: A typology revealed through exploratory cluster analysis. Community College Review, 39(3), 235267.
Suárez-Orozco, C., Abo-Zena, M. M., & Marks, A. K. (2015). Transitions: The development of children of immigrants. New York: New York University Press.
Suárez-Orozco, C., Casanova, S., Martin, M., Katsiaficas, D., Cuellar, V., Smith, N. A., & Dias, S. I. (2015). Toxic rain in class: Classroom interpersonal microaggressions. Educational Researcher, 44(3), 151160.
Suárez-Orozco, C., Katsiaficas, D., Birchall, O., Alcantar, C. M., Hernandez, E., Garcia, Y., . . . Teranishi, R. T. (2015). Undocumented undergraduates on college campuses: Understanding their challenges and assets and what it takes to make an Undocufriendly campus. Harvard Educational Review, 85(3), 427463.
Suarez-Orozco, C., Pimentel, A., & Martin, M. (2009). The significance of relationships: Academic engagement and achievement among newcomer immigrant youth. Teachers College Board, 111(3), 712749. Retrieved from http://www.tcrecord.org/library/Issue.asp?volyear=2009&number=3&volume=111
Suárez-Orozco, C., Yoshikawa, H., Teranishi, R., & Suárez-Orozco, M. (2011). Growing up in the shadows: The developmental implications of unauthorized status. Harvard Educational Review, 81(3), 438473.
Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2013). Using multivariate statistics (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.
Telzer, E. H., & Fuligni, A. J. (2009). A longitudinal daily diary study of family assistance and academic achievement among adolescents from Mexican, Chinese, and European backgrounds. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 38, 560571.
Teranishi, R. T., Suárez-Orozco, C., & Suárez Orozco, M. M. (2011). Immigrants in community colleges. The Future of Children, 21(1), 153169.
Tierney, W. G. (1992). An anthropological analysis of student participation in college. The Journal of Higher Education, 63(6), 603618.
Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Tseng, V. (2004). Family interdependence and academic adjustment in college: Youth from immigrant and U.S.-born families. Child Development, 75(3), 966983.
Valentine, J. C., Hirschy, A. S., Bremer, C., Novillo, W., Castallano, M., & Banister, A. (2009). Systematic reviews of research: Postsecondary transitionsidentifying effective models and practices. Louisville, KY: National Research Center for Career and Technical Education, University of Louisville.
Valenzuela, A. (1998). Gender roles and settlement activities among children and their immigrant families. American Behavioral Scientist, 42, 702742.
Vasquez-Salgado, Y., Greenfield, P. M., & Burgos-Cienfuegos, R. (2014). Exploring home-school value conflicts: Implications for academic achievement and well-being among Latino first-generation college students. Journal of Adolescent Research, 30(3), 271305.
Viera, A. J., & Garrett, J. M. (2005). Understanding interobserver agreement: The kappa statistic. Family Medicine, 37(5), 360363.
Wang, X. (2016). Educational expectations and progress of community college students: Does socialization matter? Teachers College Record, 118(5), 136.
Wolf-Wendel, L., Ward, K., & Kinzie, J. (2009). A tangled web of terms: The overlap and unique contribution of involvement, engagement, and integration to understanding college student success. Journal of College Student Development, 50(4), 407428.
Wooldridge, J. M. (2006). Introductory econometrics: A modern approach. Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western.