Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between selected variables and the retention and academic performance of first-time, full-time freshmen after the first semester and first year of college. The variables included were students’ gender, age, ethnicity, high school grade point average, ACT score, scholarships, Federal Pell Grant, student loans, location of high school attended, and major declared or not declared.
The population was limited to a cohort at the University of North Dakota enrolled during the 2002-2003 academic year and resulted in a sample of 1,480 students. Data were collected on each member of the cohort from the institution’s student records by the institutional research office. The investigator utilized stepwise multiple regression analysis to determine the effect(s) each independent variable or combination of independent variables had on the dependent variables retention and institutional grade point average after the first semester and the first year.
The study found relationships between selected demographic, financial, and academic factors and academic performance and retention after the first semester and first year. For academic performance, the results indicated that there was a statistically significant relationship and the amount of variance accounted for was 31.9% for the first semester and 36.7% for the second semester. For retention, while there was a statistically significant relationship, the amount of variance accounted for was only 2.2% for the first semester and 4.6% for the second semester.
The significant predictors for academic performance for both semesters in priority order were high school grade point average (positive), student loan (negative), attended other high school (positive), ACT score (positive), and Federal Pell Grant (negative). Students who did not receive loans, attended high schools other than in North Dakota and Minnesota, and did not receive Pell Grants tended to have higher grade point averages. For predicting retention after the first semester, the significant variables were high school grade point average (positive) and major declared (positive). For the second semester, these variables were high school grade point average (positive) and scholarships (positive). Students who had declared majors or received scholarships were more likely to be retained.
Hoffert, Alice L., "Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Predictors of Retention and Academic Performance of University Freshmen" (2004). Theses and Dissertations. 3728.