Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Year of Publication


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Educational Policy Studies and Eval

First Advisor

Dr. John Thelin


Every year a significant number of college students stop out of college and fail to persist and complete their degree. First-generation college students are more likely to exit college without a degree than continuing-generation students. The purpose of this quantitative, archival, nonexperimental study was to explore how first-generation college student demographic, academic background, college academic, and student engagement factors were related to and predict first-year to second-year retention at a mid-sized, public regional university. The factors explored were gender, age, race/ethnicity, income status, high school GPA, ACT, cumulative GPA, first term attempted hours, housing, participation in a Living Learning Community, Greek life, Student Support Service, Freshman Academy, student employment, and Student Success Center visits. The sample included 3,609 first-time, full-time first-generation students who enrolled at the institution from Fall 2014 through Fall 2018. The study used a single archival data set provided by the institution’s Office of Institutional Research. The results of this study suggested gender, race/ethnicity, income status, high school GPA, ACT, first term attempted hours, cumulative GPA, housing, Greek life, and student employment were all statistically related to retention. The study also showed that gender, race/ethnicity, high school GPA, ACT, cumulative GPA, first term attempted hours, Greek life participation, and student employment were individual predictors in determining first year to second year retention.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)