Socio-demographic factors impacting persistence among college students attending public four-year institutions in the U. S. from 2003 to 2005: A critical look at reproduction of social inequality in academe

Date

2010-05

Authors

Riedel, Jamie

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Abstract

This study endeavored to ascertain whether socio-demographic factors impact first-to-second year persistence among undergraduates beginning postsecondary education during 2003-04 at public four-year institutions. Factors included race/ethnicity, gender, age, parents' highest level of education and income. The theoretical framework guiding this research is informed by the work of sociologists Pierre Bourdieu and Randall Collins. A conceptual model was designed to explore the ways in which social inequality is reproduced through the American higher education system. While previous studies examine postsecondary persistence using longitudinal national-level data collected before 2002, the dataset for this study is from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS:04/06). Binary logistic regression analysis was used to investigate the relationship between socio-demographic factors and persistence. Findings indicate that gender, age, parents' highest level of education, and income significantly impact persistence beyond the first year of college. However, race/ethnicity was not significant. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

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Keywords

Educational sociology, Social inequality, College students

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