‘I am happy just doing the work…’ Commuter student engagement in the wider higher education experience

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This paper reports on a large qualitative study with commuter students in England. Research on student success identifies the importance of engagement in academic and non-academic aspects of the student experience; in this paper student engagement is segmented into academic, enhancement and social spheres. Commuter students, who often incorporate a range of equity characteristics, aim to achieve good degree and employment outcomes, and prioritise academic engagement. But commuting tempers their face-to-face academic engagement as they make trade-offs between the costs of travelling and the value of the academic encounter. Engagement in enhancement and social activities is limited and is seen by many as an extraneous aspect of the higher education experience. This lack of engagement can be understood through the employment of notions of economic, cultural and social capital, and these insights inform the recommendations for higher education providers to improve the engagement and outcomes of non-traditional students in higher education.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-303
Number of pages14
JournalHigher Education Quarterly
Issue number3
Early online date13 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2019 John Wiley & Sons Ltd Copyright: Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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