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ERIC Number: ED567668
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 154
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3395-1090-3
Investigating the Relationship between Enrollment Characteristics and Academic Performance with the Educational Outcomes of First- and Continuing-Generation Students
Oyler, Jessica Marie
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Utah
First-generation students in higher education face challenges in terms of access to and graduation from higher education institutions. The purpose of this study was to examine the educational outcomes of graduation, cumulative loan debt, and employment for first-generation students compared to their continuing-generation peers at baccalaureate-granting institutions. Three different definitions of first-generation student are commonly used in practice and in research. Each of these three definitions of first-generation were explored in order to make a recommendation for which definition of first-generation could be used to benefit the greatest number of individuals. The Beginning Postsecondary Student Survey (04:09) was utilized to examine the educational outcomes of first-generation students through descriptive statistics and logistic regression. This study was examined through the lens of social mobility. Findings revealed that first-generation students graduated with a bachelor's degree at a rate lower than their peers, accumulated debt at equal or greater rates, and attained employment at rates similar to their continuing-generation peers. Students who identified as first-generation and underrepresented in terms of race or ethnicity were less likely than their continuing-generation Caucasian and Asian peers for every definition of first-generation student. First-generation students whose parents did not attend college or who attended some college but did not attain a degree accumulated loan debt at a higher rate than students whose parents attained a degree or certificate of some sort. While first-generation students secured employment at comparable salaries and at a similar rate to their continuing-generation peers, which could be viewed as a gain in social mobility, they had higher average amounts of loan debt for each definition of first-generation. To ensure that each first-generation student is getting the assistance that they need in terms of support services and loan counseling, it is recommended that the broadest definition of first-generation, individuals whose parents did not attain a bachelor's degree, be used in research and practice. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A