Project MUSE - The Impact of Parents' Education Level on College Students: An Analysis Using the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study 1990-92/94

Hahs-Vaughn, Debbie
Publication Year:

Little is known about first generation students whose parents did not attend college and specifically their experiences surrounding educational outcomes of college. This study used structural equation modeling to investigate differences in first generation and non-first generation students using data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS) 90/92/94. This study adds to the body of literature regarding differences in experiences of first generation and non-first generation college students. Factor loadings indicate first generation students differ from non-first generation students on the following: (a) expected highest level of education; (b) entrance exam score; (c) nonacademic experiences; and (d) aspirations for education. Path coefficients indicate College Experiences were a stronger influence on Educational Outcomes for first generation students than were Precollegiate Traits. While for non-first generation students, Precollegiate Traits were a stronger influence on what the student does in college and on what happens four years later. Areas in which institutions can assist in developing curricular and co-curricular experiences are then presented.

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