Student satisfaction among traditional and nontraditional students enrolled in a private four-year institution in Delaware

LaVerne T Harmon, University of Pennsylvania


In response to the increasing diversity of students enrolled at Wilmington College, this study was conducted to determine whether and in what ways Wilmington College can effectively serve the traditional and nontraditional students simultaneously. The Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI) was used to measure the expectations and satisfaction levels of 609 traditional and 1,129 nontraditional undergraduate students enrolled at the College. Mean scores and standard deviations were calculated for importance, satisfaction, and gap scores. Analysis of covariance was done to test for significant differences between traditional and nontraditional students. Focus group sessions were held to clarify SSI items with lower satisfaction scores and largest gaps between importance and satisfaction scores. Demographic findings reveal similar demographic characteristics between the traditional and nontraditional students enrolled at Wilmington College. Ninety-three percent of the traditional students and 90.9 percent of the nontraditional students work full-time or part-time while attending college full-time or part-time. The students are overwhelmingly female and the majority of the students are over the age of 25. The findings indicate agreement between traditional and nontraditional students on items of greatest importance and satisfaction in such areas as: academic programs, quality instruction, available and knowledgeable faculty, course content, concern for students, safety and security on campus, the campus is well maintained, tuition paid is a worthwhile investment, a caring and helpful staff, the institution has a good reputation in the community, personal attention from faculty, small class size, and accelerated course formats. Traditional and nontraditional students agree on items lower in importance such as activities and other areas of campus life. Items lower in satisfaction that are also common to both groups include parking, library resources, and accessibility of computer labs. Similar demographic characteristics and the commuter status of the students are perhaps the reasons for the strong agreement between the students on items of importance and satisfaction. Based on the findings of the ANCOVA, the areas viewed as more important to traditional students are feeling a sense of belonging, financial aid, athletic programs, activities, career services, awareness of what's happening on campus, and channels for expressing complaints.

Subject Area

Higher education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Harmon, LaVerne T, "Student satisfaction among traditional and nontraditional students enrolled in a private four-year institution in Delaware" (1999). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9923571.