A Longitudinal Approach to Assessing Attrition Behavior Among First-Generation Students: Time-Varying Effects of Pre-College Characteristics

Ishitani, Terry T.
Publication Year:
Research in Higher Education

Although going to college may be viewed as a rite of passage for many students, some groups of students often face unique challenges in their pursuit of a college degree. One group of students that we are trying to gain a better understanding of is “first-generation” students, those whose parents did not graduate from college. This article presents the results of a study that investigated longitudinal effects of being a first-generation student on attrition. Results indicated that first-generation students were more likely to depart than their counterparts over time. After controlling for factors such as race, gender, high school grade point average (GPA), and family income, the risk of attrition in the first year among first-generation students was 71% higher than that of students with two college-educated parents.

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