More than half of university students in South Africa leave university before they complete their
studies. Factors associated with student drop out include poor schooling, lack of fluency in the
language of instruction, poor financial support, and inadequate student support services. In the
present study, we focus on the way meaningful commitment influences self-regulation, and we
draw on the investment model of commitment to examine the hypothesis that commitment will
be related to satisfaction, quality of alternatives, and investment size, and that self-differentiation
will provide additional predictive power to commitment. Results indicate that satisfaction and
self-differentiation only are significant predictors of level of academic commitment. Meaningful
commitment is predicted by satisfaction, quality of alternatives, investment, and self-differentiation
to a lesser extent. Investment size was associated significantly with self-regulatory behaviours
such as setting learning goals, managing studies effectively, and spending more time on studies.
The results are discussed in terms of the literature on commitment, self-differentiation, and
academic achievement in higher education.