Early Predictors of Early Freshman Year Attrition in Female Hispanic Students

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The Texas Hispanic population is projected to grow to 18.8 million, almost tripling its number within the state, in only 30 years. This rapid growth is a concern for Texas higher education because this group has traditionally been under-represented in colleges and universities. Also, according to national, state, and local data, Hispanic students are retained at a lower rate than are other ethnic groups. Because of lower retention rates for Hispanic students and because the majority of Hispanic college students are female, an increasing number of Hispanic women are heads of households. Studying the attrition rates of Hispanic females could ... continued below

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Speed, Heather Faye August 2011.

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  • Speed, Heather Faye

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The Texas Hispanic population is projected to grow to 18.8 million, almost tripling its number within the state, in only 30 years. This rapid growth is a concern for Texas higher education because this group has traditionally been under-represented in colleges and universities. Also, according to national, state, and local data, Hispanic students are retained at a lower rate than are other ethnic groups. Because of lower retention rates for Hispanic students and because the majority of Hispanic college students are female, an increasing number of Hispanic women are heads of households. Studying the attrition rates of Hispanic females could provide a better understanding of how the state can improve both the participation and retention rates of this population. This study utilized descriptive statistics and regression analysis to identify the correlations between and among the dependent variable of attrition and independent variables derived from (1) pre-college survey responses measuring college expectations and (2) early-first semester survey responses measuring actual college experience. Institutional data were used to confirm enrollment status at the beginning of the second semester. The sample of the study was all female, full-time, first-time-in college student survey respondents attending a public 4-year institution in Texas. This number included Hispanic females (n = 176), Caucasian females (n = 278), and African American females (n = 209). Although not a focus of the study, Caucasian and African American females were included to enhance the understanding of Hispanic females’ responses. The dependent variable of attrition in college attendance for Hispanic females correlated negatively with each two independent variables: (1) joining one or more campus organizations (r = -.252, p = 0.045) and (2) campus social life providing many opportunities for participation (r = -.272, p = 0.030). The dependent variable correlated positively with one independent variable, satisfaction with academic progress at the end of the freshman year (r = .301, p = 0.016). To have a positive impact on the attrition rates of Hispanic females, educators at Texas institutions of higher education must better understand Hispanic females’ college expectations.

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  • August 2011

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  • Oct. 2, 2012, 4:18 p.m.

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  • Dec. 4, 2013, 11:23 a.m.

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Speed, Heather Faye. Early Predictors of Early Freshman Year Attrition in Female Hispanic Students, dissertation, August 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103396/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .