The immigrant college student population will likely continue to increase. This exploratory study addresses the questions: To what extent does sense of belonging/satisfaction of recent immigrant college students differ from non-immigrant college students? Do perceived self-ratings of belonging vary by immigrant generations? This research draws on a new extensive data source, the Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) survey. Survey data from the 2009 SERU is based on the responses from 55,433 undergraduate students from six-large research institutions from across the United States. Findings suggest that immigrant students’ perception of their sense of belonging and satisfaction is significantly lower than their non-immigrant peers’ perceptions. Immigrant college students -- whether they were a recent immigrant that arrived in the country as a child, or arrived later as a teenager or young adult, or are the children of parents born outside the U.S. ( 2nd generation) -- consistently reported lower levels of belonging/satisfaction as compared to their 3rd or 4th generation (i.e., nonimmigrant) peers. Responses within the immigrant generation groups were similar. The following implications were highlighted: effective practice and application strategies for student affairs practitioners and faculty members who work directly with immigrant college students; policy development suggestions for both academic and student affairs administrators; future research inquiries for scholars who are interested in this fast growing population of college students.
September 1, 2010
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Michael J. Stebleton, Ronald L. Huesman, Jr., Aliya Kuzhabekova. (2010). DO I BELONG HERE? Exploring Immigrant College Student Responses on the SERU Survey Sense of Belonging/Satisfaction Factor. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.