Date Approved

12-7-2020

Embargo Period

12-8-2020

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A. Higher Education

Department

Educational Services and Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Tinnin, Andrew

Second Advisor

McCombs, Tyrone

Third Advisor

Walpole, MaryBeth

Keywords

GPA, Retention, Sense of Belonging

Subject(s)

First-generation college students--Rowan University

Disciplines

Higher Education

Abstract

The purposes of this quantitative, correlational study were to (a) understand how the perceived sense of belonging in first-generation students impacts their academic success, as defined by GPA, and (b) to determine how the aforementioned factors impact the students' intention to persist. A survey was distributed to all reported first-generation students at Rowan University with questions including demographics, an adapted sense of belonging index, intention to persist, GPA, and co-curricular involvement (N = 285). Research indicated that 89.8% of students recorded moderate to high levels of sense of belonging. Regression analyses revealed that a positive relationship exists between sense of belonging and GPA. Retention showed no significant relationship with GPA or the student's sense of belonging score; however, retention was correlated with individual items within the sense of belonging index. Implications and recommendations for support and services to first-generation students are discussed.

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