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Pushing the Boulder Uphill: The Persistence of First-Generation College Students

Somers, Woodhouse, & Cofer, 2004 / NASPA Journal / January 2004


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This study examined the impact of background, aspirations, achievement, college experiences, and price on the persistence of first-generation (F-gen) and continuing-generation (C-gen) college students at 4-year institutions using the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study of 1995–96 (n = 24,262). We found differences between the two groups on the effect size for almost all of the significant variables. F-gen students were more sensitive to financial aid and averse to student loans than their peers. However, even variables such as high income, high test score, and high grade point average, which similar studieshave found to be significant and positively associated with persistence, did not influence the persistence of F-gen students in this study.

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