Student engagement at rural public associate's colleges in Northern Alabama
Student engagement is discussed often throughout higher education. It is expressed differently in various contexts of education. This study sought to determine differences in engagement between students enrolled at rural community college students using secondary data from the Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). This study was grounded in Kuh's (2001) student engagement theory. Descriptive and inferential statistics were employed to analyze the data and to answer the research questions. This study defined engagement by using the five CCSSE benchmarks of student engagement. The sample used for this study included students who participated in the 2012 CCSSE Cohort at three rural community colleges in northern Alabama. The results of this study revealed that differences in engagement experiences do exist between students based on the following student characteristics: gender, race/ethnicity, age, generation, enrollment status, and college readiness. This study also revealed that lack of finances is the most commonly reported challenged for students, in spite of the characteristics mentioned above. The research also determined that students at these institutions seldom participate in co-curricular activities. However, they are engaged in activities related to their coursework.