An Empirical Analysis of Factors That Influence the First Year to Second Year Retention of Students at One Large, Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI)

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2009-05-15

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The purpose of this study was to identify how input and environmental factors impact first-to-second year retention of undergraduate students at a large Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). An additional purpose of the study was to determine the usefulness of the Astin Typology as a predictive factor for student retention. The sample for the study was 1,296 first-year students enrolled at the University of Texas at San Antonio during the 2002, 2003, and 2004 academic years. Data used for the study included student responses to the Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP): Freshman Survey (to identify each participant?s Astin type), gender, ethnicity, SAT scores, rank in high school class, first-generation status, financial need, first-semester residence, entry-college, semester credit hours attempted, academic course difficulty, participation in Supplemental Instruction, and enrollment in a first-year seminar course. Both descriptive and univariate statistics were used to describe the sample population, as well as the similarities and differences found to exist among the seven Astin types. Three separate logistic regression analyses organized by Astin?s I-E-O framework were conducted to develop a predictive model for retention from the first-to-second year of college. Subsequent analyses were conducted to identify the specific factors that were useful for predicting retention for each of the seven Astin types. The major findings of this study were: ? The most frequent Astin type identified within the sample population was Status Striver ? The model that included both Input and Environmental factors was the most accurate model for predicting retention ? Students who were classified as Hedonist, Status Striver, and Uncommitted were less likely to be retained at this institution when all other input and environmental factors were controlled. ? Environmental factors were most useful for predicting retention, in particular, semester credit hours attempted that had an inverse relationship with retention for all Astin types ? First-generation status, financial need, SAT score were not useful for the prediction of retention ? First-year seminar course enrollment and participation in Supplemental Instruction had a positive impact on retention This study provided evidence that the Astin typology is viable as a means of retention among college student populations.

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