Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name



Education Evaluation and Research

First Advisor

Dr. Michael Addonizio


Community colleges have a special interest in identifying factors associated with retention and graduation. Additionally, community college administrators are interested in the identification of retention factors and how to structure administrative policy and procedure that address college success patterns of all students. The first generation student is of particular concern. The first step in developing student-centered policies and practices is to gain a clear understanding of demographic characteristics and first year academic behavior of the enrolled student. For an urban community college in southeastern Michigan this means learning more about first-generation students, who make up a significant portion of the student body. The problem investigated in this study was to determine if there were differences in first-year college success patterns (retention) between first-generation students and non first-generation students attending a multi-campus community college. The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of remediation, family income, and the influence of a parent's highest level of education upon college success patterns (retention) of first-generation students. Information from 713 student cases was taken from the cohort of all students who enrolled and applied for financial aid during the fall 1994 semester. Approximately 80% of the student population applies for financial aid. The results of data analyses showed significant differences between first-generation and non first-generation community college students relative to the number of semesters attended and cumulative grade point average. A stepwise multiple regression analysis resulted in cumulative grade point average, financial aid recipient, enrolled in a transfer/traditional program, enrolled in courses classified as below college level (remediation), and attending campuses other than Eastern and Downtown as significant predictors of college success. These variables combined explained 23% of the variance within first year college success of students attending a multi-campus community college. No significant differences were found between the two groups related to college success relative to the number of credit hours completed, number of courses classified as below college level (remediation), the highest level of education completed by father, highest level of education completed by mother, family income, types of high school attended, age, gender, and ethnicity.