Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor's Name

Glenda Musoba

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Delia Garcia

Third Advisor's Name

Benjamin Baez

Fourth Advisor's Name

Linda Spears-Bunton

Keywords

Retention, persistence, first-generation, low-income

Date of Defense

10-24-2011

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between participation in a retention program designed to promote academic and social integration and the persistence rates of first generation, low-income college students at an urban, public multiethnic university. Archival data were collected from the university’s Office of Institutional Research and the retention program office and included SAT/ACT scores, GPA, gender, ethnicity, and program participation data. A total of 292 first-generation, low-income students who were admitted to the university in the summer of 1999 were identified for the study. A group of 166 students were selected for the comparison group because they had not participated in the retention program; 126 students had participated in the retention program.

Three major research questions guided this study: (a) Are there differences in persistence rates and other academic characteristics of underprepared, low-income, first generation college students who participate and do not participate in the retention program?; (b) Does involvement in the retention program predict student persistence of

first generation low-income, underprepared students?, and (c) Can predictors of GPA be identified for students in the retention program using program and descriptive variables?

A series of logistic regression analyses were conducted to assess the relationship between various retention services and the persistence and graduation rates of participants. The results showed that there were statistically significant relationships between participation and non-participation in the retention program and having higher GPAs and higher graduation and persistence rates. Of the four program features, participation in tutoring, workshops, and social events were found to be predictors of graduation. College GPA was also found to be a predictor of graduation for all students. The results also showed that women were more likely to graduate than men.

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