Degree Granting Department
Adult, Career and Higher Education
Thomas E. Miller
Estimate of Gains, Freshman, Low-Income, Persistence, Student Support
The purpose of this study was to advance understanding of perceived intellectual and social attainment gains of first-generation, first-year college students participating in First Generation Access Programs at the University of South Florida (USF), a large, public research university in Florida. Understanding the self-reported intellectual and personal/social gains of these students in higher education can lead to higher retention rates, creative strategies that promote academic success, affective cognitive and personal development activities and services that meet the needs of this rapidly growing at-risk student population with their persistence and transition to college.
Researchers have sought to examine variables that may help to increase the persistence rates of students by understanding the impact of students enrolled in First Generation Access Programs on first-generation students' academic success, as measured by grade point average. Several studies have indicated that first-generation, first-year college students have pre-collegiate characteristics that impede their intellectual and personal/social growth. In addition, research studies show that First Generation Access Programs are successful in assisting at-risk student populations successful in their transition to and persistence in college. However, there is scarcity of literature that examines the estimates of intellectual and personal/social gains of first-generation, first-year students enrolled in First Generation Access Programs. As such, this study explored the extent to which self-reported intellectual and personal/social gains predict the academic success, as measured by grade point average, for first-generation, first-year college students enrolled in First Generation Access Programs.
Theoretical frameworks from higher education were used to provide an understanding of perceived intellectual and personal/social attainment and academic success of first-generation, first-year, students enrolled in First Generation Access Programs for the context of this study. According to Kuh (1995), college impact models from Astin and Tinto and Pusser were studied, as they have been used to assist higher education professionals in understanding "outcomes produced by interactions between students and their institutions' environments..." (p. 126 - 127). In the context of both college impact models, Astin's Inputs-Environment-Outcomes Model (1991) and Tinto and Pusser's Model of Institutional Action for Student Success (2006), results of this study indicated that First Generation Access Programs increase the intellectual and personal/social attainment of first-generation, first-year students.
Several statistical analyses were conducted to examine relationships between variables (self-reported intellectual and personal/social gains, gender, and academic success) including multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), simple regression tests, and Pearson Product Moment Correlation. Results of this study were based on the responses of 184 participants. Results indicated that the participants self-reported significant intellectual and personal/social gains. However, findings indicated that there is no statistically significant relationship between self-reported gains and academic success as measured by grade point average, but there is a statistically significant relationship based on gender.
One implication for higher education administrators and student affairs professionals is the need to investigate alternative measures for academic success of first-generation, first-year students enrolled in First Generation Access Programs. Grade point average does not seem to accurately measure academic success on perceived intellectual and personal/social gains of this at-risk population. Second, institutions should seek to understand the factors and specific strategies of First Generation Access Programs that increase the cognitive and social growth and development of first-generation, first-year college students so that it may be successfully implemented for first-generation, first-year college students who do not participate in FGAP.
Scholar Commons Citation
Bergeron, Dyonne Michelle, "The Relationship of Perceived Intellectual and Social Attainment to Academic Success of First-Generation, First-Year College Students Participating in a First Generation Access Program" (2013). USF Tampa Graduate Theses and Dissertations.