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Retention of Students from First Generation and Low Income Backgrounds

Thayer, 2000 / The Journal of the Council for Opportunity in Education / May 2000


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This paper reviews recent literature related to student retention in higher education with emphasis on factors affecting low income and first-generation students. Institutional retention efforts must take the needs of such students into account if more equitable educational attainment rates are desired. Strategies that work for first generation and low income students are likely to be successful for the general student population yet not always the converse. After describing theoretical models of retention, student characteristics, and retention efforts addressing them, the paper concludes by recommending promising strategies for implementation by Student Support Services programs, McNair programs, and other programs addressing the needs of these students.

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