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Factors affecting student persistence at public research universities in Oklahoma

Le, Ky Phuoc
Prior studies have demonstrated that most college dropouts happen at the transition to the third semester of college. Using a state dataset that includes student data for the 2013-2014 time span in the state of Oklahoma, the researcher examined the validity of students' background characteristics, high school performance, and financial aid status in predicting first-year college performance and persistence beyond the second semester of college.
Data from 116,991 degree-seeking first-year students enrolled at research universities in Oklahoma from fall 2013 to fall 2014 were entered in the SPSS software for data analyses, which include both multiple linear regression and multiple logistic regression.
The researcher finds that students' enrollment status and federal Perkins loans do not yield strong predictions of how students will perform academically or whether they will return to the second year of college. For tuition waivers, the associations with college performance and persistence are stronger, but still not significant. In contrast, spring GPA, Oklahoma's Promise, high school grade point average, American College Testing scores, and gender are useful for predicting persistence to the third semester, and have a strong association with their college performance.
These findings might reflect current efforts by the Federal Government, State agencies, institutions and schools to promote student success, help them pay college tuition, and increase students' pre-college performance.