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A Guide to the Research: Data / Longitudinal Studies

Presents research literature and other sources of information about first generation college students, focusing on four-year undergraduate and graduate school experiences.

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* Hemphill, Leslie L. Social Role Theory as a Means of Differentiating between First-generation and Non-first-generation College Students. Dissertation, Dept. of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Kansas State University, 2008.
This study explores role theory as a model for understanding and addressing the problems of first-generation students. Survey questions linked to role commitment involving intentions to work, commute and participate in campus activities were administered to 257 first-time full-time students: 182 students were first-generation and 75 were non-first-generation. Analysis using the Mann-Whitney U Test indicated first-generation students had significantly less commitment to the role of student. Later, first-generation students were divided into "successful" and "unsuccessful" groups based on their two semester grade point average. The Mann-Whitney U Test failed to demonstrate a significant difference between "successful" and "unsuccessful" first-generation students. The ordinal score responses of first-generation students to the three survey questions were then used as categories and grade point averages of the students in those categories were compared using ANOVA procedures. The results were mixed but suggested further investigation was warranted. The study was concluded with interviews of ten "successful" first-generation students. The interview results were supportive of conclusions drawn from role theory underscoring the value of further studies with larger sample sizes and modifications in methodology suggested by this study.

* Horng, Eileen L.; Brent J. Evans; Anthony L. Antonio; Jesse D. Foster; Hoori S. Kalamkarian; and Nicole F. Hurd. Lessons Learned from a Data-driven College Access Program: The National College Advising Corps, New Directions for Youth Development, #140 (Special Issue: Innovations in Improving Access to Higher Education), Winter 2013, pp. 55-75. This chapter discusses the collaboration between a national college access program, the National College Advising Corps (NCAC), and its research and evaluation team at Stanford University. NCAC is currently active in almost four hundred high schools and through the placement of a recent college graduate to serve as a college adviser provides necessary information and support for students who may find it difficult to navigate the complex college admission process. The advisers also conduct outreach to underclassmen in an effort to improve the school-wide college-going culture. Analyses include examination of both quantitative and qualitative data from numerous sources and partners with every level of the organization from the national office to individual high schools. The authors discuss balancing the pursuit of evaluation goals with academic scholarship. In an effort to benefit other programs seeking to form successful data-driven interventions, the authors provide explicit examples of the partnership and present several examples of how the program has benefited from the data gathered by the evaluation team.

* Schmidt, Carolyn Speer. An Exploration into First Generation Adult Student Adaptation to College. Dissertation, Department of Educational Leadership, Kansas State University, 2005.
The purpose of this study was to further develop an understanding of the nature of the adaptation process of adult first generation students to the undergraduate college experience. This study utilized the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ) in conjunction with personal interviews to explore whether first generation adult college students adapt differently to college than do their continuing generation peers and if there is a commonality of experience, across demographic differences, for first generation, adult college students. Fifty-five adult college freshmen were surveyed using the SACQ. From this sample, sixteen first generation volunteers were interviewed regarding their college experience.
 T-test analysis of the SACQ scores showed that the first generation students were not adjusting to college as well as their continuing generation peers on the overall measure to adjustment and on three of the four subscales. The personal interviews indicated that while there was variation in the first generation students’ adaptation with seven of the sixteen volunteers classified as adjusting poorly to college, three with mixed adjustment, and five with good adjustment, there were also commonalities in the students’ experience, regardless how well they were adjusting to college. Eleven meta themes emerged from the interview data, and these themes correlated with characteristics of nonpersisters as compiled by Kasworm, Polson, and Fishback (2002).
 This research indicated that further investigation into adult first generation college students is appropriate especially with regard to how these adults view themselves as role models. In addition, this study indicates a need for future research into the links between adult students’ first generation status and persistence problems in their college experience.

Data / Longitudinal Studies

* Ashburn, Elyse. After the Deluge, the Drought? The Chronicle of Higher Education, vol. 54, issue 34 (May 2, 2008), pp. B5-6.
Part of a special section on college admissions and student aid. A Chronicle of Higher Education survey has explored college admissions offices' preparation for a shrinking pool of traditional applicants. Survey results showed that about 88 percent of admissions offices have a plan or are developing a plan to address demographic changes, which are likely to involve a decline in the number of white graduates and an increase in the proportion of first-generation college graduates.

* Bui, Khanh Van T. Middle School Variables that Predict College Attendance for First-Generation Students. Education, vol. 126, issue 2 (Win 2005), pp. 203-220.
Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study, this report examines eighth grade school variables that might predict college attendance for students whose parents have no college education (n = 2,521). The selected school variables are amenable to public policy and/or skilled leadership, and they include "school structure" (e.g., number of school days in an academic year), "student statistics" (e.g., attendance rate), "atmosphere" (e.g., seriousness of student problems), "academic offerings" (e.g., required year-long courses for core subjects), and "teacher statistics" (e.g., level of absenteeism). Controlling for students' sociodemographic characteristics and past academic achievement, multivariate logistic regressions show that higher teacher absenteeism in eighth grade lowers the odds of attending college for potential first-generation students.

* Chen, Xianglei and C. Dennis Carroll. First Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at their College Transcripts Description. Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Report. NCES 2005-171. 2005.
This report uses data from the Postsecondary Education Transcript Study (PETS) of the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88) to examine the majors and coursetaking patterns of students who are the first members of their families to attend college (referred to as “first-generation students” in this report) and compare their postsecondary experiences and outcomes with those of students whose parents attended or completed college. The results indicate that first-generation students were at a disadvantage in terms of their access to, persistence through, and completion of postsecondary education. Once in college, their relative disadvantage continued with respect to coursetaking and academic performance. First-generation status was significantly and negatively associated with lower bachelor’s degree completion rates even after controlling for a wide range of interrelated factors, including students’ demographic backgrounds, academic preparation, enrollment characteristics, postsecondary coursetaking, and academic performance. This report also demonstrates that more credits and higher grades in the first year and fewer withdrawn or repeated courses were strongly related to the chances of students (regardless of generation status) persisting in postsecondary education and earning a bachelor’s degree.

* Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Programs to Improve the Retention and Success of Underserved Students at Colorado Public Institutions. Report to the Education Committees of the Colorado General Assembly in Response to HB 06-1024. 2007. 55 pp.
The purpose of this report is to describe the programs and services designed to support underserved students at Colorado's public colleges and universities. This report was prepared in response to HB06-1024 Concerning Underserved Students at Institutions of Higher Education, which requires each governing board to prepare and submit a report regarding underserved students to include: (1) Programs and services that each state institution of higher education under the governing board's control provides to address the retention and success of underserved students; and (2) Additional programs or services for underserved students that the state institution of higher education would propose to provide and the related costs for the implementation of those proposed programs or services. The Department of Higher Education (DHE) collected information for this report from all public colleges and universities in the state. Although HB06-1024 requested a response by the state's public two and four-year institutions,; the DHE did not create and disperse a report template to the institutions for the collection and presentation of the data provided herein. Therefore, submissions from the state's institutions are variable: the data collected are not comparable. However, the narrative portions of the institutional level reports provide a full description of the services, programs and activities designed to serve underserved students, and the reports yield significant information concerning the institutional level programs and services designed to recruit, retain and graduate underserved populations. The reports do not contain or provide consistent definitions of or data for underserved students, including low-income and first generation students. Most of the institutions provided some institutional level data concerning overall enrollment numbers of racially diverse students; in most institutional reports this data is disaggregated by race category. Two appendixes include: (1) Campus Level Data, Four-Year Colleges and Universities; and (2) Campus Level Data, 2-Year Colleges. (Contains 61 tables.)

* Drozd, Brian L., Psy.D. Comparisons of first-generation and non-first-generation college students on academic and psychosocial measures. University of Northern Colorado, 2008, 280 pp.
This study compared first-generation and non-first-generation undergraduate students of two elite, New England colleges on variables pertaining to these students' academic preparation and performance; social involvement; psychological well-being; and time allocation.

* Duggan, Michael. Factors Influencing the First-Year Persistence of First Generation College Students. 2001. (See ERIC Microfiche in Education Library.)
The factors that influence the first-year persistence of first generation college students at four-year institutions were studied using data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students (BPS) database. The BPS is a longitudinal study of first-time students in the 1995 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study. First generation students are those whose parents did not attend college. Based on logistic regression results, first generation status is a factor in the persistence of college students. First generation students are 4% less likely to persist than second generation students. Several social capital variables, such as attending a private high school, type of high school curriculum, taking remedial courses, and having siblings in college were not statistically significant in the logistic regressions. Not having e-mail, which could be construed as a form of social capital, and delaying entry into college had statistically significant negative effects on the odds that students would persist to their second year. Being from a family where a language other than English was spoken had a positive influence on the odds of persisting. Not participating in a study group with other students and dissatisfaction with college costs and intellectual development had negative impacts on persistence. The study discusses some implications for educators attempting to increase student persistence. (Contains 7 tables and 38 references.) [Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the North East Association for Institutional Research (Cambridge, MA, November 17-20, 2001).]

* Filkins, Joseph W. and Susan K. Doyle. First Generation and Low Income Students: Using the NSSE Data To Study Effective Educational Practices and Students. Self-Reported Gains. AIR 2002 Forum Paper.
Increasing access to higher education for first-generation and low-income students was the primary motivation for the establishment of the federally funded TRIP programs. This study, using data from the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) obtained through data sharing among several urban institutions, compared TRIO-eligible students and non-TRIO eligible students on their engagement in three effective educational practices: active learning, student-faculty interaction, and student-peer interaction. Also compared were student self-reported gains on measures of cognitive and affective development. Findings suggest that for both sample populations, engagement in educational practices was positively related to their cognitive and affective growth during college. Results also indicate that the relative importance of these effective educational practices to student outcomes varied somewhat for students in the two sampled populations. Findings show that low-income, first-generation students tend to benefit more from educational practices that involve them in class presentations or participation in class discussions and from activities that engage them in a collaborative learning process. One appendix lists institutions involved in the data share, and the other describes the beneficial educational practices.

* First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at Their College Transcripts. Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Report. NCES 2005-171. July 2005.

* First-Generation Students: Undergraduates Whose Parents Never Enrolled in Postsecondary Education: Statistical Analysis Report. NCES 98-082. June 1998.
This report uses data from the 1989-90 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:90/94) and the 1993 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study (B&B:93/94) to examine the postsecondary experiences and outcomes of first-generation students relative to their peers. After an overview of the demographic, aspirational, and enrollment characteristics of first-generation and non-first-generation students, the report compares the persistence and attainment rates of each of these two groups. It then examines the labor market and further postsecondary outcomes of these students. The major findings are:
First-generation students were more likely to be older, have lower incomes, be married, and have dependents than their non-first-generation peers (figure 2).
First-generation students were more likely to enroll in postsecondary education part-time, and to attend public 2-year institutions; private, for-profit institutions; and other less-than-4-year institutions than their non-first-generation counterparts (table 4, table 3, figure 3).
First-generation students were equally as likely to be taking remedial classes as non-first-generation students when they began their postsecondary education. However, there were differences by sector on this measure. At private, not-for-profit 4-year institutions, first-generation students were more likely to be taking remedial courses than their counterparts whose parents had more than a high school education. At the same time, the proportions of first-generation non-first-generation students at public 4-year and public 2-year institutions taking remedial coursework did not differ significantly (table 9).
First-generation students were more likely than non-first-generation students to say that being very well off financially and providing their children with better opportunities than they had were very important to them personally (table 11). First-generation students were also more likely to say that obtaining the amount of financial aid they needed, being able to complete coursework more quickly, being able to live at home, and being able to work while attending the school were very important influences in their decision to attend their particular postsecondary institution (table 11).
First-generation students persisted in postsecondary education and attained credentials at lower rates then their non-first-generation counterparts. This finding held for students at 4-year institutions and public 2-year institutions (figure 5).
If first-generation students attained bachelor's or associate's degrees, they earned comparable salaries and were employed in similar occupations as their non-first-generation peers (table 22, table 23). Even when controlling for many of the characteristics that distinguished them from their peers, such as socioeconomic status, institution type, and attendance status, first-generation student status still had a negative effect on persistence and attainment (table25).

* Giancola, Jennifer Kohler, David C. Munz, and Shawn Trares, First- versus Continuing-Generation Adult Students on College Perceptions: Are Differences Actually because of Demographic Variance? Adult Education Quarterly: A Journal of Research and Theory, vol. 58, issue 3 (2008), pp. 214-228.
The purpose of this study was to examine differences in college perceptions between first-generation and continuing-generation adult undergraduates while controlling for demographic variables. The study and hypotheses are grounded in the Model of College Outcomes for Adult Students. The results revealed that sex (more females) accounted for variance between first- and continuing-generation students on importance. With a higher number of female adult and first-generation students, higher education should better examine how to meet these students' needs.

* Hemphill, Leslie L. Social Role Theory as a Means of Differentiating between First-generation and Non-first-generation College Students. Dissertation, Dept. of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Kansas State University, 2008.
This study explores role theory as a model for understanding and addressing the problems of first-generation students. Survey questions linked to role commitment involving intentions to work, commute and participate in campus activities were administered to 257 first-time full-time students: 182 students were first-generation and 75 were non-first-generation. Analysis using the Mann-Whitney U Test indicated first-generation students had significantly less commitment to the role of student. Later, first-generation students were divided into "successful" and "unsuccessful" groups based on their two semester grade point average. The Mann-Whitney U Test failed to demonstrate a significant difference between "successful" and "unsuccessful" first-generation students. The ordinal score responses of first-generation students to the three survey questions were then used as categories and grade point averages of the students in those categories were compared using ANOVA procedures. The results were mixed but suggested further investigation was warranted. The study was concluded with interviews of ten "successful" first-generation students. The interview results were supportive of conclusions drawn from role theory underscoring the value of further studies with larger sample sizes and modifications in methodology suggested by this study.
 
* Horn, Laura and Larry Bobbitt. Mapping the Road to College: First-Generation Students' Math Track, Planning Strategies, and Context of Support. Statistical Analysis Report. Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Reports. 2000. 104 pp.
This publication compares first-generation students (i.e., those whose parents have no more than a high school education) with their peers whose parent or parents attended college. It focuses on mathematics course taking--the effectiveness of taking algebra in 8th grade and advanced math courses in high school for subsequent college enrollment--and planning strategies students used to prepare for college. The report also examines the involvement of students' parents, teachers, and other "institutional agents" capable of helping them prepare for college. The results of the study offer both negative and positive findings concerning the experiences of first-generation students. On the negative side, even after controlling for measures of academic achievement, family income, family structure (single versus two parents), and other related characteristics, first-generation students were less likely than their peers to participate in academic programs leading to college enrollment. Consequently, they were much less likely to enroll in college within two years of graduating from high school. The disparity between first-generation students and their peers from families where at least one parent had attained a bachelor's degree was especially notable. On the positive side, regardless of parents' educational attainment, students' achievement, and other related factors, students who completed mathematics programs beyond the level of Algebra 2 substantially increased their chances of enrolling in a 4-year college. In addition, other factors such as parents' participation in college preparation activities and students receiving help from their high school in the application process also increased students' chances of enrolling in college (at any level).

* Horng, Eileen L.; Brent J. Evans; Anthony L. Antonio; Jesse D. Foster; Hoori S. Kalamkarian; and Nicole F. Hurd. Lessons Learned from a Data-driven College Access Program: The National College Advising CorpsNew Directions for Youth Development, #140 (Special Issue: Innovations in Improving Access to Higher Education), Winter 2013, pp. 55-75. This chapter discusses the collaboration between a national college access program, the National College Advising Corps (NCAC), and its research and evaluation team at Stanford University. NCAC is currently active in almost four hundred high schools and through the placement of a recent college graduate to serve as a college adviser provides necessary information and support for students who may find it difficult to navigate the complex college admission process. The advisers also conduct outreach to underclassmen in an effort to improve the school-wide college-going culture. Analyses include examination of both quantitative and qualitative data from numerous sources and partners with every level of the organization from the national office to individual high schools. The authors discuss balancing the pursuit of evaluation goals with academic scholarship. In an effort to benefit other programs seeking to form successful data-driven interventions, the authors provide explicit examples of the partnership and present several examples of how the program has benefited from the data gathered by the evaluation team.

* Ishitani, Terry T. Studying Attrition and Degree Completion Behavior among First-Generation College Students in the United States. Journal of Higher Education, vol. 77, issue 5 (Sep-Oct 2006), pp. 861-885.
This study investigated attrition and degree completion behavior of first-generation college students. Based on the findings, first-generation students were at the highest risk of departure during the second year, followed by the first year. These students were also 51% less likely to graduate within 4 years than students with college-educated parents were. (Contains 5 tables, 2 figures.)

* Ishitani, Terry T. Studying Educational Attainment among First-Generation Students in the United States. Paper presented at the Annual Forum of the Association for Institutional Research (AIR) (45th, San Diego, CA, May 29-Jun 1, 2005).
Although graduating from college may be viewed as a rite of passage for better social mobility in our society, first-generation students, whose parents never graduated from college, face unique challenges to achieve educational success in our country. The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate longitudinal educational attainments of first-generation students using the national data sets. This study tracks the same cohort of students over time, and illustrates their educational endeavors through multi-levels of analyses, from attrition behavior of 8th graders to the likelihood of college graduation.

* Jehangir, Rashne, Rhiannon Williams and Judith Jeske. The Influence of Multicultural Learning Communities on the Intrapersonal Development of First-Generation, Journal of College Student Development, vol. 53, issue 2 (Mar-Apr 2012 ), pp. 267-284.
This longitudinal study of first-generation, low-income students considers the impact of their participation in a multicultural learning community designed to combat the isolation and marginalization they experience at a large Midwestern research university. The study explores the extent to which multicultural curriculum and critical pedagogy create avenues for intrapersonal self-authorship for historically marginalized students in a TRiO program. Findings indicate that intentionally drawing students' lived experiences into the learning process and scaffolding opportunities to reflect on one's multiple identities positively impacts development of the intrapersonal dimension of self-authorship.

* Knutson, Nichole Marie. Applying the Rasch Model to Measure and Compare First-Generation and Continuing-Generation College Students’ Academic Self-EfficacyDissertations--Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation. University of Kentucky. 2011.
The purpose of this study is to investigate if parental levels of education affect college students’ self-reported levels of academic self-efficacy. The following research questions guided this study: 1) Do survey response hierarchies differ between first-generation college students and their continuing- generation counterparts on a scale that measures academic self-efficacy?, 2) Do levels of item endorsability vary based upon parental levels of education? and 3) Do the results produced from the college student survey support the existing literature on first- generation college students and academic-self-efficacy?

* Lodhavia, Rajalakshmi. A descriptive study comparing GPA, retention and graduation of first-time, full-time, provisionally admitted first-generation college students and their peers. Dissertation, Wilmington University (Delaware), 2009, 127 pp.
This quantitative research study used ex post facto data to analyze possible relationships between a discrete set of independent variables and academic achievement among provisionally admitted students at a public, four-year historically black university located in the mid-Atlantic United States. The independent variables were first-generation status, race/ethnicity, credit hours attempted and earned and undergraduate GPA. In this study, undergraduate GPA was an indicator of academic achievement. Retention from first semester freshman year to second semester freshman year was a dependent variable. Inclusion criteria were used to identify a sample of 57 participants drawn form a cohort of 823 potential students. The population from which the sample was drawn for this study consisted of students admitted to the fall 2002 cohort. Because of the small sample size and nature of the variables included in the study, chi-square test and independent sample t tests were chosen as the method for data analysis. None of the independent variables were found to be statistically significant in influencing GPA, graduation rates or retention. However, an incidental finding did show the amount of Pell Grant received among first-generation college students was significant at the 0.10 significance level.

* Martin Lohfink, Mandy and Michael B. Paulsen. Comparing the Determinants of Persistence for First-Generation and Continuing-Generation Students. Journal of College Student Development, vol. 46, issue 4 (Jul-Aug 2005), pp. 409-428.
In this study we examined and compared the determinants of first-to-second-year persistence for 1,167 first-generation and 3,017 continuing-generation students at four-year institutions, using data from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Survey (Wine, et al., 2002). Because first-generation students are over represented in the most disadvantaged racial, income, and gender groups, we used a critical theorist perspective to frame the research problem, guide inquiry, and interpret results.

* Moschetti, Roxanne and Cynthia Hudley, Measuring Social Capital among First-Generation and Non-First-Generation, Working-Class, White Males, Journal of College Admission, issue 198 (Win 2008), pp. 25-30.
Social capital is a useful theory for understanding the experiences of working class, first-generation college students. Social capital is the value of a relationship that provides support and assistance in a given social situation. According to social capital theory, networks of relationships can aid students in managing an otherwise unfamiliar environment (Attinasi, 1989) by providing students with valuable information, guidance and emotional support (Stanton-Salazar, 1997). This study examined the effects of socioeconomic and first-generation status on social capital among working-class, white, male students. The authors measured social capital by assessing the number and the quality of students' ties to institutional agents. Institutional agents are defined as individuals who have the ability to transmit or negotiate the transmission of opportunities and resources available at the institution (e.g. mentoring, counseling, tutoring). The authors included two types of students: (a) working-class males who are first-generation college students (e.g., Terenzini, Springer, Yaeger, Pascarella & Nora, 1996; Pascarella et al., 2004) and (b) working-class students whose parents attended college. This study expected first-generation status to be associated with working class, white males having less communication with institutional agents about their college experiences. Although not supported at a level of statistical significance, the data showed a trend supporting the hypothesis.

* Nunez, Anne-Marie. First-Generation Students: A Longitudinal Analysis of Educational and Early Labor Market Outcomes. ASHE Annual Meeting Paper. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (23rd, Miami, FL, November 5-8, 1998). 1998.
This paper provides initial results of a longitudinal study of a nationally representative sample of first-generation students, their college choices, their academic and social integration into the institution, their postsecondary persistence and attainment outcomes, and their labor market outcomes. The study analyzed data from the 1989-90 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, which found that first-generation students had particular demographic and enrollment characteristics. They were more likely to be female, older, and independent; to have dependents and lower incomes; to be enrolled in two-year institutions; and to be enrolled part time. First-generation students were more likely than other students to value improving their financial and professional status but were less likely to complete their postsecondary education within five years. Five years after beginning postsecondary education, first-generation students who had achieved certificates or degrees were employed in similar positions and earned salaries comparable to counterparts whose parents had attended college. When demographic, enrollment, first-year academic performance, and institutional characteristics were controlled, first-generation students were less likely to persist in postsecondary education. Eighteen tables detail the study's findings.

* Nunez, Anne-Marie and Stephanie Cuccaro-Alamin. First-Generation Students: Undergraduates Whose Parents Never Enrolled in Postsecondary Education. Statistical Analysis Report. Postsecondary Education Descriptive Analysis Reports. 1998. 95 pp.
This report uses data from the 1989-90 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study and the 1993 Baccalaureate and Beyond Longitudinal Study to examine the postsecondary experiences and outcomes of first-generation students relative to their peers. After an overview of the demographic, aspirational, and enrollment characteristics of first-generation and non-first-generation students, the report compares the persistence and attainment rates of these groups; it also examines the labor market and further postsecondary outcomes of these students. The major findings are: (1) first-generation students were more likely to be older, have lower incomes, be married, and have dependents than non-first-generation peers; (2) first-generation students were more likely than their peers to enroll in postsecondary education part-time, and to attend public two-year institutions, for-profit institutions, or other less-than-four-year institutions; (3) first-generation students were equally as likely to take remedial classes as peers, though there were differences by sector on this measure; (4) first-generation students were more likely than peers to say that being very well off financially was very important to them; (5) first-generation students persisted in postsecondary education and attained credentials at lower rates than peers; and (6) overall, first-generation status had a negative effect on persistence and attainment. A glossary and technical notes are appended.

* Padgett, Ryan D., Megan P. Johnson and Ernest T. Pascarella. "First-Generation Undergraduate Students and the Impacts of the First Year of College: Additional Evidence," Journal of College Student Development, vol. 53, issue 2 (Mar-Apr 2012),  pp. 243-266.
Using longitudinal data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, our findings suggest that first-generation students are at a significant disadvantage across cognitive and psychosocial outcomes compared to students whose parents have at least some postsecondary education. Furthermore, we tested for the conditional effects of good practices on first-year outcomes and found that effects of good practices on both cognitive and psychosocial outcomes differed in magnitude, and sometimes in direction, for first-generation versus non-first-generation students. (Contains 5 tables.)

* Purswell, Katherine E., Ani Yazedjian, and Michelle L. Toews, Students' Intentions and Social Support as Predictors of Self-Reported Academic Behaviors: A Comparison of First- and Continuing-Generation College Students, Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, vol. 10, issue 2 (2008), pp. 191-206.
The purpose of this analysis was to examine academic intentions, parental support, and peer support as predictors of self-reported academic behaviors among a sample of 329 first- and continuing-generation college freshmen. Regression analyses revealed that different variables predicted academic behaviors for the three groups examined (students whose parents had no college experience, some college experience, or a college degree). Specifically, all three independent variables--intention, parental support, and peer support--were predictive of self-reported academic behavior for students whose parents had at least a bachelor's degree. However, peer support was the only variable predictive of academic behavior for the students whose parents had some college experience and intention was the only significant predictor for first-generation college students.

* Saenz, Victor B., First in my family: a profile of first-generation college students at four-year institutions since 1971, Higher Education Research Institute, 2007.
Contents: Existing research on first-generation college students -- Description of methods -- Demographic summary -- Gender differences -- Educational attainment -- Racial/ethnic group differences -- Citizenship status -- CIRP freshman survey trends -- Parental encouragement -- Reasons for choosing a college: motivations for first-generation students and peers -- Reasons for going to college: financial security and future plans for education -- Work experiences and expectation at college entry -- Financial considerations for going to college -- Influence of home in the college choice process -- College residence -- Academic preparation at college entry -- Social self-confidence and leadership ability -- Changing student values -- Degree objectives -- A special focus on private college and universities -- Private institutions: a profile of entering first-generation college students -- Private institutions: first-generation students' reasons and motivations for going to college -- Private institutions: first generation student activities and expectations -- Conclusions: Implications for institutional support.

* Schmidt, Carolyn Speer. An Exploration into First Generation Adult Student Adaptation to College. Dissertation, Department of Educational Leadership, Kansas State University, 2005.
The purpose of this study was to further develop an understanding of the nature of the adaptation process of adult first generation students to the undergraduate college experience. This study utilized the Student Adaptation to College Questionnaire (SACQ) in conjunction with personal interviews to explore whether first generation adult college students adapt differently to college than do their continuing generation peers and if there is a commonality of experience, across demographic differences, for first generation, adult college students. Fifty-five adult college freshmen were surveyed using the SACQ. From this sample, sixteen first generation volunteers were interviewed regarding their college experience.
 T-test analysis of the SACQ scores showed that the first generation students were not adjusting to college as well as their continuing generation peers on the overall measure to adjustment and on three of the four subscales. The personal interviews indicated that while there was variation in the first generation students’ adaptation with seven of the sixteen volunteers classified as adjusting poorly to college, three with mixed adjustment, and five with good adjustment, there were also commonalities in the students’ experience, regardless how well they were adjusting to college. Eleven meta themes emerged from the interview data, and these themes correlated with characteristics of nonpersisters as compiled by Kasworm, Polson, and Fishback (2002).
 This research indicated that further investigation into adult first generation college students is appropriate especially with regard to how these adults view themselves as role models. In addition, this study indicates a need for future research into the links between adult students’ first generation status and persistence problems in their college experience.

* Seay, Sandra E., A Comparison of Family Care Responsibilities of First-Generation and Non-First-Generation Female Administrators in the AcademyEducational Management Administration & Leadership, vol. 38, issue 5 (Sep 2010), pp. 563-577. Requires Interlibrary Loan.
This study addressed the void of information concerning the post-baccalaureate work experiences of first-generation women by documenting their presence in higher education administrative positions and by determining that providing care for a greater number of dependent children than their peers remained in the profile of first-generation women who had transitioned from undergraduate students to academic administrators. The data results and a literature review are used to suggest that family-friendly workplace policies including equitable pay for women and health insurance options that allow coverage for elderly parents could assist first-generation women who aspire to academic positions within higher education.

* Summerville, Bernadette M., Ph.D. The relationship between first-generation students' educational background and selected academic and non-academic variables. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, 2009, 104 pp.
The door to college is open for increasing numbers of students for whom adapting to college may be a great challenge (Kamphoff, Hutson, Amundsen, & Atwood, 2007). Hansen (1998) noted that the overall academic preparation level has declined for students entering college and that academic disengagement in college has increased among many students. The educational background of the parents has been shown to have a significant impact on a student's decision to attend college (Choy, 200). Many firs-generation students come from ethnic and educational backgrounds that historically have struggled with the educational system (Somers, Woodhouse, & Cofer, 2004). The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a relationship between students' parental educational background and selected academic and non-academic variables of entering college freshmen. The participants in this study were enrolled at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, a comprehensive public Midwestern research university, during academic years 2006-2008. Academic and non-academic factors were assessed to determine if differences existed between first-generation and non-first-generation students. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences versions 16.0 (SPSS 16.0) and Microsoft Excel 2007. Descriptive statistics were calculated to provide a general profile of the students. Descriptive data analyzed included demographic information, non-academic data (assessed using the Bryson Instrument for Noncognitive Assessment), and academic data (high school GPA and rank, ACT composite and subscores).

* Terenzini, Patrick T., First-Generation College Students: Characteristics, Experiences, and Cognitive Development, Research in Higher Education, vol. 37, issue 1 (Feb 1996), pp. 1-22.
Comparison of 825 first-generation college students and 1,860 traditional college students in 23 diverse institutions after completion of 1 year found first-generation students differed from others in both entering characteristics and college experiences. Although traditional students made greater net gains in reading, the groups gained similarly in math and critical-thinking skills, but these gains resulted from different experiences.

* What Works in Student Retention? Fourth National Survey. Four-Year Colleges and Universities with Twenty Percent or More Black Students Enrolled ACT, Inc. 2010. 26 pp.
This report presents the findings for four year colleges and universities with twenty percent or more Black students enrolled that participated in ACT's 2010 What Works in Student Retention survey. The report contains information pertinent to only these institutions. Appendices include: (1) Data for Four Year Colleges and Universities with greater than or equal to 20% Black Student Enrollment; and (2) What Works in Student Retention Instrument. (Contains 13 tables.) [For the main report, "What Works in Student Retention? Fourth National Survey. Report for All Colleges and Universities", see ED510474.]

* Wohlgemuth, Darin, Don Whalen, Julia Sullivan, Carolyn Nading, Mack Shelley and Yongyi (Rebecca) Wang. Financial, Academic, and Environmental Influences on the Retention and Graduation of Students. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, vol. 8, issue 4 (2006-2007), pp. 457-475.
Regression analysis was used to study retention and graduation for the fall 1996 entering class of students at a midwestern research extensive university (n = 3,610; 44% female, 8% minority, 77% in-state). Logistic regression was used to predict the likelihood of a student being retained for each of four years, and the outcome of graduation at the end of years four, five, and six. Odds ratios were employed to provide insight into the relative contribution of demographic characteristics (age, gender, ethnicity, in-state residency), ability (high school rank, high school rank[squared], ACT score), environmental (university athlete, university honors program, first-generation student, entering college), and financial aid data (gift, loan, and work-study) characteristics. (Contains 2 tables and 1 figure.)

* Zhang, Yu and Tsze Chan. An Interim Report on the Student Support Services Program: 2002-03 and 2003-04, with Select Data from 1998-2002. US Department of Education. 2007. 56 pp.
This report describes essential characteristics and key program outcome measures for the Student Support Services (SSS) program grantees and participants in reporting years 2002-03 and 2003-04. The SSS program is designed to increase college persistence and graduation rates for eligible students, increase the transfer rates of eligible students from two-year to four-year institutions, and foster an institutional climate supportive of the success of low-income and first-generation college students and individuals with disabilities. Because of their disadvantaged background, SSS participants often need a longer time to complete a degree than their counterparts with dissimilar backgrounds. This report displays the completion rates for the 1998-99 freshman cohort participants who completed a bachelor's degree within six years of beginning college, that is, within five years after their freshman year. It also presents the degree completion rate by the length of time participants received services. The report consists of two sections. Section I describes select grantee and participant characteristics for reporting years 2002-03 and 2003-04. Section II presents information on program outcomes and impact as measured by persistence and degree completion rates for full-time freshmen and type of institution. Section II also presents data on length of services received and degree completion. After Section II, three appendices provide some supplemental or supportive information. Appendix A presents the number of student records contained in the 2002-03 and 2003-04 a annual performance report (APR) data. Appendix B reports select characteristics of grantees and participants by state. Appendix C provides counts corresponding to the percentages displayed in the figures. A glossary is also included. (Contains 20 tables, 7 figures, and 10 footnotes.) [This report was prepared for Federal TRIO Programs, Office of Postsecondary Education, U.S. Department of Education by American Institutes for Research.]