Beyond the Undergraduate: Factors Influencing First–Generation Student Enrollment in and Completion of Graduate Education

by McCall, Ryan W.

Abstract (Summary)
First-generation students have a unique set of barriers that may prevent them from enrolling in higher education. The influences of these barriers at the graduate level are not well known. This study was designed to determine if barriers that influence first-generation student enrollment in and completion of undergraduate education have a similar influence on first-generation student enrollment in and completion of graduate education. To accomplish this three student groups were selected: (a) first-generation non-graduate, (b) first-generation graduate, and (c) continuing-generation graduate. Three categories of variables were utilized for the analysis and they were (a) educational background, (b) socioeconomic status, and (c) total undergraduate debt. The study data came from secondary analysis of Baccalaureate and Beyond 1993/2003 (B&B:93/03). A combination of descriptive statistics and logistic regression was utilized to analyze the data. Major findings of the study include: (a) being a first-generation student, when combined with the variables in the model, does have a significant but weak influence on matriculation into and completion of graduate school; (b) approximately half of all the respondents who attended graduate school were first-generation, which is higher than the 40% reported in previous research; (c) there are similar barriers for first-generation students that influence both their entrance into undergraduate and graduate education; (d) the factors that influence undergraduate completion rates for first-generation students do not appear to influence the graduate completion rates for these students; (e) first undergraduate institution type attended does influence the matriculation into graduate education; (f) graduate institution type attended does have influence on the completion and attainment rate for first-generation students; (g) undergraduate major selected by first-generation students does have influence on enrollment in graduate education for these students.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Ohio University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:first generation students graduate education barriers enrollment and completion


Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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